Boxer Jose Ramirez Presents Check to SJVWIA

Professional Boxer Jose Ramirez Helps SJVWIA Fight for Water

(Updated from an earlier version 8/5/16)

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director


Jose Ramirez, a 2012 Olympian and current World Boxing Conference Continental Americas Champion, spoke at a special event TODAY at the Nisei Farmers League in Fresno, where in the name of the City of Avenal—a community member agency of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority (SJVWIA), Ramirez presented a $3,300 check to the SJVWIA. SJVWIA, in turn, is working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and many Valley counties, cities and water agencies to coordinate and complete the Temperance Flat feasibility studies and prepare the necessary bond funding application.


Ramirez, whose remarkable boxing record includes 17 fights and 17 wins—with 12 wins by knockoutgrew up in Avenal, California (Kings County) with his parents working in the fields. “I knew those jobs were important to my family because they gave me a future; they gave my brothers and sisters their future; my friends, their families, their future; they brought food to the table,” he said.


“When you’re a kid growing up in a small town like Avenal, you grow up with such innocence. There are a lot of questions that you don’t ask. There are a lot of things you don’t understand. I was just a kid who was happy to have any type of toy,” he said. “I didn’t have the privilege of having electronic games or the best clothes, but I had just enough to survive, just enough to have fun. I was very active.”


Boxing Champ Jose Ramirez presents a check to the SJVWIA
Boxing Champ Jose Ramirez presents a check to the SJVWIA

One day Ramirez asked his dad, why he bought his children sweaters instead of jackets. His dad replied, “Well, because jackets are expensive.” Ramirez reflected, “As a kid, you don’t really understand the way he managed his financials, but everything was given because of those jobs working the fields. Everything was given because of the agriculture in Central California.”


The “Fight For Water” boxing series, developed to help bring attention to the dire water issues in California, particularly in the Central Valley, has featured Ramirez in five victorious bouts to date. Despite an average year of precipitation, contracted federal water deliveries to many farmers in the Westlands Water District, for instance, have been cut by 95% thus far, this year alone, and the remaining 5% is now in jeopardy. Deliveries for the previous 10 consecutive years, were: 100% (2006), 50% (2007), 40% (2008), 10 (2009), 45% (2010), 80% (2011), 40% (2012), 20% (2013), 0% (2014), 0%(2015).


“We got in contact with Mario Santoyo and Manuel Cunha, from the Latino Water Coalition, and it has been an honor working with them. The experiences—I have really matured myself as a person,” Ramirez said. “Besides a fighter, I have learned so much. I have become more passionate about this issue. I want to continue fighting for the water. I want to continue fighting for what’s right for the people, for what’s right for my family, for what’s right for my friends’ families and for other families where I grew up,” he said.


“I am happy to work with the City of Avenal. I want [Avenal] to stay involved as much as they can. I want them to be a part of the programs, because I know Avenal is a good community,” he said. “They’ve done great with all the kids there.”


“It’s because of Avenal, I am who I am,” Ramirez said. “The opportunities that they’ve given me I will never forget. This is why I’m here, to make sure that they stay involved, to help them, to raise what needs to be raised and for them to be part of the team that we’re making, because I know that team is created by leaders, and I know that Avenal will do a good job being a part of it,” he said.


“I’m happy to say I will do as much as I can to make that happen. We’re going to continue fighting for the water, because I know that this is our future,” Ramirez said. “Being a father, I have to think about the future of my kids. And I have lots of friends who are fathers too, so I’ve got to make sure that they’re set, or at least have hope,” he concluded.


The Nisei Farmers League informs grower members about regulations and policies through meetings, seminars, newsletters and special bulletins.; provides legal assistance for labor and workplace related issues; maintains a close working relationship with local, state and federal agencies and legislators to protect grower interests; and collaborates with other grower and agricultural organizations in California and other states to help provide a powerful, unified voice for the agricultural community.

San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority (SJVWIA)

Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage Investigation


Friday’s ‘Fight for Water II’ Media Day will Include News Conference on Valley Crisis

Two big fights – one for water and the other in the ring – will be in the spotlight Friday afternoon in Fresno during a media day featuring valley boxer Jose Ramirez and a news conference in which Central California’s rapidly worsening water crisis will be the focus of California Latino Water Coalition leaders and several valley elected officials during a news conference.

The Latino Water Coalition is co-sponsoring the May 17 bout featuring U.S. Olympian Ramirez at Fresno’s Selland Arena as “Fight for Water II,” to help call national attention to the total lack of water supplies now threatening large portions of the San Joaquin Valley’s East Side and West Side. Ramirez is a Coalition member.

The news conference and Fight for Water media event will take place:

Friday, May 2 at 2 p.m.

Thrive Gym — 5161 North Blackstone Avenue


“This news conference will include statements by some of our local elected officials whose constituents are most at risk from economic and social disaster this summer because of the zero water allocations still in place over millions of acres along the valley’s West Side and East Side,” said Mario Santoyo, Latino Water Coalition Executive Director. “Don’t be surprised if what these county supervisors and mayors have to say to the federal and state governments is strong. Aside from some drought relief and eased regulations, there really hasn’t been much movement toward getting growers at least some supply to keep permanent plantings alive. The bottom line is we still have no water, trees and vines are about to start dying and valley people – particularly Latinos – will be hurting.”

Among the confirmed speakers are Fresno County Supervisors Phil Larson and Judy Case McNairy. They represent portions of western Fresno County and along the county’s East Side that would be hardest hit by a zero allocation.

Mayor Gabriel Jiminez of Orange Cove, an East Side community in the heart of an incredibly productive citrus region that has very little groundwater to cushion the total lack of Central Valley Project surface water supplies, will discuss his community’s worsening dilemma.

The City of Orange Cove itself relies totally on Friant-Kern Canal deliveries for municipal supplies and is going to have make do with a much reduced emergency supply of health and safety water arranged by the Bureau of Reclamation and Fresno Irrigation District.

While the prospect of massive economic losses and social problems caused by a lack of water is confronting Orange Cove and the East Side, such difficulties are much too familiar to Mendota Mayor Robert Silva.

He will speak on how Mendota is grimly preparing for another year of extreme water curtailments in the CVP’s nearby San Luis Unit, including the Westlands Water District. Unemployment is growing rapidly, fields are being fallowed and businesses and residents are struggling financially.

Also speaking will be Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle, San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal (who chairs the Council of Fresno County Governments), Clovis Councilman Jose Flores and other local leaders.

Cannon Michael, who farms east of Los Banos, will represent the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. A representative of California Citrus Mutual will explain the problems being faced by citrus growers along the East Side.