HOOKER AND RAMIREZ GO HEAD-TO-HEAD IN ARLINGTON
Jr. Welterweight kings set for unification battle on July 27
Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez came face-to-face for the first time today at the first press conference for their World Jr. Welterweight unification blockbuster on Saturday July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
WBO champ Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) and WBC ruler Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) will headline a huge night of action in Texas, with more World title action to be added along with top Heavyweight fights, and tickets go on pre-sale next Wednesday and general sale next Friday.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Maurice Hooker, WBO World Super-Lightweight champion: I want to thank Eddie Hearn, RocNation, Matchroom Boxing USA, DAZN, Jose Ramirez, his team and Top Rank for getting this show done. July 27 is going to be a hell of a fight, you are going to see the best of me, the best of Jose Ramirez, may the best man win.
“I’m training hard and pushing myself, I’m doing this for my family, so let’s do this man – I want to show everyone what I am all about, it’s going to be a hell of a fight and I am not leaving without that WBC belt. Did you bring it? OK, you’ll bring my belt on July 27! It’s a great fight so let’s do it man.”
Jose Ramirez, WBC World Super-Lightweight champion: “I want to thank Bob Arum, Rick Mirigian, Robert Garcia and all the Top Rank family for the opportunity to come to his territory and a different network with Eddie Hearn and DAZN to showcase my skills in my first unification match. Ever since I came out of the London 2012 Olympics my goal was to become a World champion, and after I became a World champion my goal was to become the undisputed champion and I think Maurice Hooker is a big step to make that possible.
“He’s a great champion, I’m very honored to be here and fighting in a different venue in Arlington Texas, I know that there are a lot of fans here that love and support boxing and this is the type of fight that every champion should step up and give to the fans that deserve to see it. I feel Boxing is more alive now than ever and I’m happy I’m here as a World champion and I am going to do everything I can to stay a World champion.
“I am fighting for my family and the right causes, to do something bigger than just box. When I box my goal is to motivate people to fight for themselves, to push themselves and be better, and this is the type of fight that is going to make me better and take my career to a whole different level. It’s a blessing for me to have this fight, I’m thankful to Mo’s team for accepting the fight and stepping up to the plate, I think it’s something that was just us fighters want to prove ourselves, that’s how our promoters were able to work together to provide us with a life-changing opportunity. You will see the best of me on July 27.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing USA: This is a huge fight for the 140lbs division, it’s an absolute A-star match up, one both teams wanted for a long time, and after a crazy night on DAZN last Saturday at Madison Square Garden, I believe we have a fight of the year contender here in Arlington on July 27.
“I want to thank Top Rank and their fighter Jose Ramirez. The problem these days in boxing is that there is too much politics with different promoters and different networks, but when two fighters want to fight, generally you have a great chance to make it happen. So, I want to thank Bob Arum and all the Top Rank team for making this incredible fight a reality on DAZN.
“We wouldn’t be working with Mo without the help and support of RocNation Sports and Dino Duva. When we came to America, we were looking to partner up with several people that we trusted and believed in, and the relationship with Matchroom Boxing USA, Mo and RocNation Sports has been fantastic so far. We got off to a slow start really when we lost a purse bid to fight Alex Saucedo. We went to Oklahoma to fight him and it was one of the great, great nights as Mo stopped him to defend his title. He defended it again in Turning Stone but now this really is the defining night of Mo’s career.
“When we went to Oklahoma, I walked into the dressing room and it was just the guys you see on stage. I thought, ‘Oh, it’s not a very big team!’ It was our first fight with Mo and that night showed me that sometimes you don’t need a massive team, you need the right team. The right backing from genuine people that have your best interests at heart. The team lives and breathes Maurice Hooker.
“Behind every great fighter is a great trainer and it’s not just a great match-up in the ring but also out of it, with two great trainers in Vince and Robert Garcia. Robert has long been one of the top trainers in the sport and he knows how difficult this fight is, and he will be putting together a gameplan for his charge. Vince Parra has been so influential in the career development of Mo and it’s a massive night for him too.
“Seeing these guys today and looking in their eyes, this is a fight they wanted and one they are excited by. Mo has a spring in his step, he’s got this monster fight in his hometown. His opponent Jose Ramirez is a hugely popular fighter, I’ve been to some of his shows in Fresno, I want to thank his manager Rick Mirigian who has done a great job in building him locally there. He’s popular, entertaining, technically a great fighter, a puncher and he has plenty of heart. I wanted to bring a fight to Dallas for Mo. I didn’t expect to bring one of this size but what an opportunity for him to become a unified World champion in his backyard.
“This is a real fighter’s fight, one of the fights of 2019 so far. There will be other World title fights on the card and some big Heavyweight fights to be announced. It will be a stacked night of boxing, that’s what we do and that’s what DAZN do.”
Vince Parra, Maurice Hooker’s trainer: “I want to thank Eddie Hearn, DAZN, Matchroom Boxing USA, Top Rank and Jose’s team, but more than anything I want to thank Mo. When I got him, he was a young prospect, I told a reporter he was like a bolt of lightning and I just knew that if we harnessed it and put it in the right way that he could do something special.
“Last year in England he did that, we’ve always taken the hard road, we’ve been the underdog, hitting the road and going all over the US together, living out of hotels and sparring the best fighters we could. He’s always trusted me, and I thank him for that because he’s exceeded even my expectations. I want to compliment JR and his great team, but more than anything these two fighters stepped up. They didn’t hide behind anything, they want to decide who is the best 140lb fighter in the division and they are doing their part, so I applaud them both for that.
“This is a great opportunity for me to match wits with a great trainer like Robert Garcia, and for Mo to match skills with Jose Ramirez. On July 27 there will be a new unified WBO and WBC champion, and it will be Maurice Hooker in his hometown of Dallas.”
Robert Garcia, trainer of Jose Ramirez: “We’re really happy to be here and glad that this fight was able to happen. These are the fights that need to happen and people are missing out on so many fights because of the problems that promoters and TV networks have, but we were able to make this happen and I’m glad because it’s one of the best fights of the year, I can guarantee that. Jose is very motivated and ready to do this, and I am sure Maurice is preparing well too. It’s a hell of a fight and one the fans will remember for many years.”
Dino Duva, RocNation Sports: “I am so happy to see Mo getting this huge fight at home. After he beat Alex Saucedo, he boxed Mikkel LesPierre, two fights in a row on the opponent’s home turf. Eddie and I talked and said we wanted to bring Mo back home, so I want to thank Eddie and DAZN for that.
“Maurice deserves it, he hasn’t fought here for a long time and he certainly deserves it as champion. You couldn’t ask for a better match-up for Mo’s homecoming. Jose Ramirez is a great champion, it’s a unification with a Mexican-American star – you can’t ask for a better fight for this area. Dallas has become a real hotbed for great fights, there’s been huge events here over the last couple of years and this is going to be right up there with the best of them. I really believe this fight could be one of the best that we’ve seen in a long time, the match-up, the style, the background, everything about it leads to a special and historic event.
“To echo what Eddie said, I want to thank Jose, Top Rank, my old friend Robert Garcia, for doing what had to be done to make this fight, for Mo to have his homecoming in as good a match as you could as for. Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN have done a terrific job with us for Maurice and with boxing in general. If you look at the line-up DAZN has had, you can’t beat it, and now, with this beautiful venue in Arlington, it’s going to be a special night that you don’t want to miss on July 27, I hope that the local fans support the night.”