CORPUS CHRISTI — Top Rank on ESPN will kick off its 2018 season with a sensational Super Bowl weekend world championship event. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, Mexico’s super middleweight champion with the matinee idol looks, defending his world title.
Ramírez (36-0, 24 KOs), from Mazatlan, Mexico, will make his third defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title against Top-Five world-rated contender Habib “Wild Hurricane” Ahmed (22-0, 17 KOs) from Accra, Ghana. The fight will take place on Saturday, February 3, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, and will be televised live and exclusively at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramírez-Ahmed world championship event are on sale. Priced at $152, $102, $62, $42, and $27, including facility fees, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
“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 Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Gilberto has quickly become the face of boxing on both sides of the border.
“Habib 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.”
“I believe God has plans for everybody I believe this is it for me and my team, to become a world champions at this point, not just for me but for all the hard working people especially immigrants who come to this great nation to make their dreams come true, working hard and never giving up,” said Beltran. “I hope my story my and my struggle can inspire others to achieve their dreams and to motivate them to never give up. “I have great respect for my opponent. I always but this WBO title was supposed to be mine once in the UK and I don’t intend to let that happen again.”
Ramírez, a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine made history in the co-main event to the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley welterweight pay-per-view 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 gave a virtuoso performance over the defending WBO champion Arthur Abraham, a-three-time world 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 . A sensational young champion, 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 Top-10 contender and one-time world title challenger Max “Tiger” Bursak and followed that up with another impressive unanimous decision victory, this time over undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Jesse “Hard Work” Hart on September 22.
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 to capture the vacant WBO Africa super middleweight title. This will not only be Ahmed’s U.S. debut, it will be his first professional fight outside his native Ghana.