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Gilberto Ramirez to meet Habib Ahmed in 168-pound title tilt Feb. 3 on ESPN

Photo / Mikey Williams-Top Rank
Fighters Network

Gilberto Ramirez is gearing up for his first ESPN-televised main event.

The first 168-pound titleholder from Mexico will defend his WBO belt for the third time when he takes on Habib Ahmed on February 3 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“He is fighting outside of his home country for the first time and that makes him a very dangerous fighter,” said Ramírez, who turned back the challenge of Jesse Hart in an entertaining ESPN bout two months ago. “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.”

Ramirez (36-0, 24 knockouts) is THE RING’s No. 2 super middleweight behind James DeGale, and “Zurdo” has certainly made his mark in a short time. He’s displayed smooth boxing ability for his size — most impressively in a title victory over Arthur Abraham — but his power hasn’t traveled with him to the championship level.

Amed (26-0-1, 18 KOs) hails from the capital, Accra, which has spawned several world champions, including hall of famer Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joseph Agbeko and Joshua Clottey. He’s completely unknown to even the most ardent boxing fans stateside, but he’s reeled off six consecutive knockouts against limited opposition.

“I have an important message for Gilberto Ramirez: I am coming to America to take your title,” said Ahmed. “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.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger