Top Rank Boxing is on ESPN this Saturday night as they kick off their 2018 schedule. Two world title fights are expected on the ESPN broadcast and a ten round feature in the super middleweight division is also expected to air.
The latest phenom out of the Philippines makes his American debut as he defends his IBF world super flyweight title against Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez. Ancajas won his world title at home in the Philippines and he has defended the belt in Australia, China and the U.K. so the fight in the US is the next logical step. Promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank are looking for a new version of Manny Pacquaio and they think they have found it in Ancajas. In the three title defenses on the road, Ancajas got the job done early, taking out his opponents. In Gonzalez he is facing a fighter who is 21-1 but is leaving his regional scene for the first time. There is little on his resume that compres to Ancajas and the line reflects that.
The WBO world uper middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (36-0) is also on the card. He is defending his belt against Ghana’s undefeated Habib Ahmed (25-0-1). The story here is similar to the first fight as Ahmed is making his first fight away from Africa. Ramirez is just 26 years old as he heads into his third world title defense. He won the belt from veteran champion Arthur Abraham back in April of 2016 and he has successfully defended the belt twice since.
It is clear that Top Rank is trying to give both Ramirez and Ancajas exposure to the American public by putting them on ESPN. As you can see below, the sports books have installed the champions as major favorites in their Saturday fights. Check your sports book for the latest lines.
Bank of America Center – Corpus Christi, Texas – ESPN
Super Flyweight 12 rounds –
Israel Gonzalez +1000
Jerwin Ancajas -2000
Super Middleweight 12 rounds –
Habib Ahmed +1800
Gilberto Ramirez -4500
Super Middleweight 10 rounds –
Thomas Awimbono +1250
Jesse Hart -2750