Ramirez to face Edwards on road to title shot

Gilberto Ramirez will face experienced super middleweight contender Derek Edwards on June 26 in Hidalgo, Texas. Chris Farina/Top Rank

Super middleweight contender Gilberto Ramirez will take on Derek Edwards on June 26 at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas, where Mexico's Ramirez will be the overwhelming crowd favorite.

The scheduled 10-round bout, which will headline a "MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout" card (10 p.m. ET, truTV), was announced on Thursday at a news conference in Hidalgo.

"My opponent, Derek Edwards, is a dangerous fighter with good skills and lot of experience," Ramirez said. "I will be ready for the best of him. I expect a war. We have been having a great training camp, and I will give the fans the fight they want to see. I'm really motivated to be in the ring in June 26.

"I'm very happy for this opportunity that Top Rank is giving me, to appear on its new truTV boxing series. This is the third time that I am fighting in Texas. It feels like home to me because the fans always treat me very well. I really like the people from Texas because there are big boxing fans."

Ramirez (31-0, 24 KOs), 23, made his HBO debut in his last fight, outpointing Maxim Vlasov in a tough 10-rounder on Jan. 24 in Denver on the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado III undercard.

Edwards (27-4-1, 14 KOs), 35, of Las Vegas, is coming off a 12-round decision loss in December to Andre Dirrell, who will fight for a vacant world title against James DeGale on Saturday. In Edwards' previous bout, in February 2014, however, he knocked out Badou Jack in the first round. Jack went on to win a super middleweight world title by outpointing Anthony Dirrell, Andre's brother, for a world title on April 24.

"Gilberto Ramirez is one of the top 168-pounders in the world, but June 26, he'll have to prove it," said Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, Ramirez's promoter. "Derek Edwards, with his KO win over current world champion Badou Jack, is the test that Gilberto needs to pass in order to gain his world title opportunity. Not an easy task."

Said Ramirez: "I see Edwards as a very tough, experienced boxer. He has quality wins and is a very dangerous opponent. He is the type of opposition I need to get my world title opportunity."

Blue-chip featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez (15-0, 14 KOs), a two-time Mexican Olympian, is due to box in the co-feature, but his opponent has not been determined.