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Maurice Hooker shares what has got him to the edge of greatness

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Maurice Hooker has credited his tight-knit team for getting him to the edge of greatness as he prepares to face Jose Ramirez in a World Super-Lightweight unification battle on Saturday night at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) penned a deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN alongside his long time promoters Roc Nation Sports last July as he entered a new phase of his career as WBO ruler having travelled to Manchester to take the title from Terry Flanagan in June 2018. The 29 year old saw off the challenges of Alex Saucedo and Mikkel LesPierre on the road before landing the unification clash with Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) on home turf.

The Dallas ace attributes his path to the point of unification to the men that have guided his career from the start in trainer Vince Parra and his assistant manager Arnie Verbeek and promoter Dino Duva, and hopes to repay their faith and support with a big night of celebration after Saturday’s pick-em clash.

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“I just like to smile and be happy in boxing and my life,” said Hooker. “I don’t like big crowds even outside of boxing, I just hang with a few people. I don’t like too much attention and you get people arguing around you and you have to worry about everybody. I keep close to the people I trust because I know that they have got my back. All you need is a few great people and you will be ok.

“Vince and I grew up with each other, learned the sport together and did everything as a partnership, the trust is there with us and I know that whatever he tells me to do in the gym or in the corner between rounds is the right advice to get the win.

“We’ve done it all from day one, gone on the road and stayed in dirty hotels to get great sparring with Terence Crawford, Miguel Cotto and more, but now we’re in the best hotels as World champion! We’ve done it all and been through a lot. It’s good to have someone in your corner that you trust as much as I do with Vince.

“There’s a lot of fighters in and around San Diego, we’re down the street from Mexico so we can get fighters in with that Mexican style. We drive to LA, Big Bear and Las Vegas and get great work as we’re right in the middle of that.”

Hooker and Ramirez clash on a bumper night of action in Arlington, as Tevin Farmer defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against mandatory challenger Guillaume Frenois. Tramaine Williams takes on Yenifel Vicente for the vacant USBA Super-Bantamweight title and a trio of unbeaten talents look to continue their 100 per cent KO records in Nikita Ababiy, Artur Biyarslanov and Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.

Heavyweight Joey Dawejko meets Rodney Hernandez over ten rounds and there’s action for three Dallas fighters in Stephen Acosta, Javier Martinez and debutant Darius Bagley.

Tickets for the bumper night of World championship action are on sale now from $25 from www.utatickets.com

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