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Gilberto Ramirez: “I Want to Finish the Year With a Knockout!”

Undefeated WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs) and No. 1 contender Jesse “Hollywood” Hart (25-1, 21 KOs) have been here before. The two fought in September of last year, with Ramirez prevailing via tight unanimous decision.

The two will renew acquaintances Friday evening at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, in a main event that will be streamed live on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET). Undefeated 140-pounder Arnold Barboza Jr. (19-0, 7 KOs) will take on Manuel Lopez (14-2-1, 7 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature.

2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer, 130-pound contender Jamel Herring, and bantamweight contender Joshua Greer Jr. will all look to steal the show on the undercard broadcast (ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET).

At Wednesday’s final press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Gilberto Ramirez

On the first Hart fight

“I dominated that fight. This fight will be no different. It will be only one side. My side.”

On returning to Corpus Christi, where he knocked out Habib Ahmed in February

“I’m really happy to be back in Corpus Christi. I started the year with a knockout in Corpus Christi, and I want to finish the year with a knockout, too. I hope everyone enjoys it.”

On a potential Canelo Alvarez fight

“I need to beat Jesse Hart and he needs to beat Rocky Fielding. Mexican versus Mexican, everybody would love to see that. If he wins and I win, let’s do it!”

Jesse Hart

On gaining revenge against Ramirez

“Things will be different because we corrected the little mistakes that didn’t go right the first time. I think with the mistakes that {trainer} Fred Jenkins corrected with me, and being on that stage and on that platform, I believe you will see a change in the outcome.”

On fighting for his father/trainer (Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, who won’t be attending the fight because of an illness)

“It means everything for my dad, to myself. Like I said, since I started boxing, me and my dad, we never dreamed of nothing else but being a world champion. I’m very blessed and very humbled by this opportunity I have again. I’m just going to go out there and put on the best performance I possibly can to bring home the victory.”

Manuel Lopez

On fighting as the co-feature

“It’s a huge blessing, for sure, and the fact that I’m going to be right before my main man here, Jesse Hart, makes it a whole lot better. We went to school together, so it makes it an even better opportunity. I’m very, very happy about it.”

On what it will take to beat Barboza

“It’s going to take hard work as it’s been. Hard work, dedication, and hopefully it will happen on Friday night. His birthday present is going to be his first ‘L.'” (Barboza’s birthday was Dec. 9)

Arnold Barboza Jr.

On fighting as the co-main event and potentially fighting for a world title in 2019

“We just put our head down and train. We’d been getting ready for a fight in November, which got moved to December. We’ve been training since our last fight ( a KO victory August 25 against Luis Solis). I wand to thank Top Rank for giving me the opportunity. I feel like I’ve passed every test that they’ve given me. From Mike Reed to tall fighters, pressure fighters, everything. He says he’s gonna give me a birthday present. My birthday present is gonna be celebrating my win. I’m going to look better than I ever have. I’ve been training the best I ever have, and I’m read to go.”

Mikaela Mayer

On her first full year as a pro {Friday will be her sixth fight of 2018}

“It definitely exceeded my expectations and my team’s. Top Rank has done a great job of moving me and I think given me the right fights, too, kind of just testing my skills and seeing where I’m at. I think that’s exactly what this next fight is going to be. They want to see where I am and see how much they can step me up in 2019, so I want to show them that I’m ready. I hope they keep me just as busy.”

On training in Colorado Springs alongside people like Jamel Herring.”

“I think it’s just the environment that makes it more exciting because I came from Team USA, where I’m training around teammates and it’s always a fun atmosphere. When you turn pro, sometimes you lost that team environment. Being able to train around fellow Olympians like Jamel, {in addition to} Terence Crawford, and still being close to the {U.S. Olympic} Training Center, it definitely keeps it exciting and more fun.”

Jamel Herring

On his 2018 campaign and training with Brian McIntyre and Terence Crawford

“It’s been great. As you can see, the proof is in the pudding. {From} my first fight with them and Top Rank back in May until now, we’ve been getting better. Like I said, the chemistry is great. I’m happy and honored to not only be with my new {training team}, but with Top Rank as well. We’re looking to close out the year strong and move on to bigger and better things in 2019.”

“I feel that with a good performance this weekend, a title opportunity will come in the new year. I’m very close. That’s why we wanted this fight. It’s very important to me. Not only to me, but to my team and my career.as a whole. Having Top Rank behind {me} has given me a lot. With a great performance this Friday, a lot of great things will come in the new year.”

Joshua Greer Jr.

On fighting for a regional title belt

“It feels good. All the hard work is paying off. I gotta thank Top Rank for the good job they’re doing, and I’m going to continue to do my part.”

On what he’s going to bring to the ring

“I got something real special for him. A new pillow. I went pillow shopping, so everything is going to come together.”

ESPN, 10 p.m. ET

Gilberto Ramirez (champion) vs. Jesse Hart (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO super middleweight world title

Arnold Barboza Jr. vs. Manuel Lopez, 10 rounds, super lightweight

ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET

Mikaela Mayer vs. Calixta Silgado, Mayer’s NABF super featherweight title

Joshua Greer Jr. vs. Daniel Lozano, 10 rounds, vacant WBC Continental Americas bantamweight title

Jamel Herring vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, 8 rounds, super featherweight

Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Edward Kakembo, 6 rounds, lightweight

Ruben Vega vs.Oscar Mojica, 6 rounds, super flyweight

Jesus Arechiga vs. David Martino, 6 rounds, super bantamweight

Roberto Duran Jr. vs. Leonardo Pena, 4 rounds, welterweight

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, tickets to the Ramirez-Hart 2 world championship event are on sale now. Priced at $100, $65, $45, and $30, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

About ESPN+

ESPN+, which surpassed one million paying subscribers in just five months, is the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and multiple other sports), domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie and more), exclusive Top Rank boxing, UFC (beginning in 2019), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive documentary films and series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.

ESPN+ is an integrated part of the ESPN App, the leading sports app and the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. The ESPN App is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation, delivering a rich, personalized experience that curates all of ESPN’s content around each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.

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