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The Champ Comes Home: Jose Ramirez to Defend World Title July 7 in Fresno

*FRESNO, Calif. (May 16, 2018)* – Jose Ramirez, the pride of California’s
Central Valley, is ready for his world championship homecoming.

Ramirez, from Avenal, Calif., will make the first defense of his World
Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight title against former amateur
standout and longtime contender Danny O’Connor on Saturday, July 7 at the
Save Mart Center. *Ramirez vs. O’Connor will be televised live on ESPN and
ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET.*

Undercard bouts, including appearances by top Central Valley prospects
Bryan Lua and Isidro Ochoa, will stream on *ESPN+ starting at 7:30 p.m.
ET. *Also appearing on ESPN+ in a six-round special attraction will be
blue-chip prospect Gabe Flores Jr. of Stockton, Calif., who signed with Top
Rank as a 16-year-old in November 2016, becoming the youngest fighter ever
signed by the promotional company. This will be the first professional
fight for Flores (7-0, 5 KOs) in California, who is also scheduled to fight
on the Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn undercard June 9 in Las Vegas.

Promoted by Top Rank
in association with Star Boxing and Murphys Boxing, tickets to this world
championship event, priced at $150 (floor), 90, $60, $35, $20, and $10,
plus applicable fees, are ON SALE NOW and can be purchased online at
charge by phone at 800-745-3000, or at the Save Mart Center box office. For
more information and box office hours, visit www.savemartcenter.com

As a bonus, fans who purchase tickets to Ramirez-O’Connor will also receive
a free voucher to attend the May 26 card at the Save Mart Center, a world
championship doubleheader featuring 115-pound world champions Jerwin
Ancajas and Kal Yafai in separate bouts.

“Jose Ramirez is one of the brightest lights in the sport of boxing,” said
Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank. “He’s an incredible competitor and a
great advocate for social causes like immigration rights.”

“It has been my dream to become a world champion. It’s now my duty to
defend this belt at home for my city, fans and everything I fight for,”
Ramirez said. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I dedicate this fight
to the immigrants that contribute to and make our society a better place.
I’m pro-immigrant and proud.”

“I have been waiting for this opportunity since the day I put my first pair
of gloves on. I embrace the chance to do battle with a great warrior such
as Jose Ramirez,” O’Connor said. “I believe we have a legitimate shot at
winning the world title and fulfilling my lifelong dream. We are prepared
to bring it to Fresno on July 7!”

“This is the largest and most historic televised sporting event in Central
Valley history, as our hometown hero defends his WBC world title as the
main event on ESPN,” said Rick Mirigian, Ramirez’s manager. “Hollywood
couldn’t script this any better.”

Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs), beloved in the Central Valley for his commitment to
immigrant causes and water rights for area farmers, won the vacant WBC
super lightweight title onMarch 17 in New York City with a hard-fought
unanimous decision over Amir Imam. He earned the title shot with a stunning
second-round knockout over the previously undefeated Mike Reed on Nov. 11,
2017 in front of 13,838 fans at the Save Mart Center, which broke the
venue’s previous record for a boxing match. When Ramirez fought Issouf
Kinda at the Save Mart Center on Dec. 2, 2016, 13,700 fans turned out for
the event dubbed “Fight For Water 6.” A 2012 U.S. Olympian, Ramirez turned
pro later that year and soon became one of North America’s top
ticket-sellers. On Oct. 25, 2014, Ramirez knocked out David Rodela in 50
seconds to win the vacant NABF super lightweight title in front of 10,000
fans at the Selland Arena in Fresno.

O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs), from Framingham, Mass., is getting his first crack
at a world title after nearly a decade as a professional. A slick southpaw,
O’Connor had an illustrious amateur career, winning four New England Golden
Gloves titles, a 2008 national Golden Gloves title at 141 pounds, and
earning an alternate berth on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. O’Connor won the
first 14 bouts of his professional career before dropping a unanimous
decision to Gabriel Bracero on April 8, 2011 in Laredo, Texas. He won nine
in a row before a highly controversial split decision loss to former world
champion Vivian Harris in 2013. Following a shocking, one-punch knockout
loss to Bracero in their 2015 rematch, O’Connor has won four consecutive
fights. In his last bout, on a special St. Patrick’s Day card in Boston,
O’Connor rebounded from seventh-round knockdown to win a unanimous decision
over Steve Claggett and retain the WBC International Silver super
lightweight belt.

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