RAMIREZ TO DEFEND WBO TITLE AGAINST AHMED ON FEB. 3RD ESPN CARD
Press Release: Top Rank on ESPN will kick off its 2018 season with a sensational Super Bowl weekend world championship event. Gilberto Ramirez will defend his WBO super middleweight title on Saturday, February 3rd, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ramírez (36-0, 24 KOs), from Mazatlan, Mexico, will make his third title defense against Habib "Wild Hurricane" Ahmed (22-0, 17 KOs) from Accra, Ghana. The fight will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
"Gilberto Ramirez has proven that he is the best of the super middleweights All you have to do is look at his world championship victories against Arthur Abraham and Jesse Hart," said promoter Bob Arum. "Gilberto has quickly become the face of boxing on both sides of the border.
"Ahmed is an undefeated fighter with a good knockout record. He is fighting outside of his home country for the first time and that makes him a very dangerous fighter,’ said Ramírez. “He knows that he has a great opportunity in front of him. I’m going to train even harder than for my last title defense. I think this will be a very good fight. My world title and our undefeated records will be on the line. I’m very motivated and focused on defending and retaining my title for the third time against a good opponent. I want to show the world why I’m the champion in the super middleweight division.”
“I have an important message for Gilberto Ramirez,” said Ahmed. “I am coming to America to take your title. I am going for the knockout. All of Ghana and all of my fans are going to be so proud, so happy. This is the opportunity I always wanted. I am taking Ramirez’s title with me to my homeland.”
Ramírez, a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine, made history on April 9, 2016, when he became México's first fighter to win a super middleweight world title. Entering the fight as the top world-rated contender, Ramirez bested the defending WBO champion Arthur Abraham, a-three-time champion in his own right. All three judges scored it as a 120-108 blitzkrieg. "I took him to Méxican boxing school," a jubilant Ramírez boasted as he put on the world championship belt.
Ramírez had been scheduled to make his first title defense in July 2016, but a training camp injury to his right hand followed by surgery and rest sidelined him for the remainder of the year. He returned to the ring on April 22, winning a unanimous decision over Max "Tiger" Bursak and followed that up with another unanimous decision victory, this time over previously undefeated Jesse "Hard Work" Hart on September 22nd.
A former Ghanaian super middleweight champion, Ahmed has won eight of his last nine fights by knockout, including the six-bout victory-by-knockout streak he is currently enjoying. In his most recent fight, on March 17, Ahmed stopped Philip Kotey in the 11th round. This will not only be Ahmed's U.S. debut, it will be his first professional fight outside his native Ghana.