SAN DIEGO, Calif., August 27, 2020 – Who could have imagined back in late January when the title defense by WBC/WBO junior welterweight Jose Ramirez of Fresno, California (25-0, 17 KOs) and former WBC world champion Viktor Postol of Ukraine (31-2, 12 KOs) schedule February 2 in Haikou, Hainan, China would be canceled? And we would still be dealing with the fallout in August?
Fortunately for the fighters and their fans, the fight will finally take place on Saturday, August 29 in the safe confines of “The Bubble” at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The card gets started on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
Postol and trainer Freddie Roach were already in China when the card was canceled. Ramirez hadn’t left California. But he stayed in training camp not knowing when the fight might be rescheduled. An attempt to get the fight on the books in May didn’t work out. “My last fight was 13 months ago, but it feels like it was yesterday because I’ve been in the gym the whole year and with this fight on my mind the whole time,” said Ramirez.
Patience finally being rewarded for fighters and fans
For Ramirez, it’s the longest he’s been out of the ring as a professional. It will be a far different event than he’s become accustomed to. Ramirez regularly packs 10,000 fans into his hometown Save Mart Center. Postol also knows what it’s like to be in front of large crowds after bouts with Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor.
“I remained composed and patient. I have a great team and my family behind me. I’m a man of faith. I believe everything happens for a reason, and now that I’m here, I can’t wait to showcase my talent on August 29,” said Ramirez at the final pre-fight news conference on Thursday. “I want to show the world how much I have grown and matured as a unified champion.” Trainer Robert Garcia is expected to be on hand after negative COVID-19 tests this week. Garcia was out after a positive test before last Saturday’s card. Veteran Southern California trainer Henry Ramirez (no relation) filled in last week and is likely on standby.
Postol says he’s motivated by the opportunity to win two titles, and the lack of fans won’t matter to him. “The first training camp was tough because I came to the U.S. two months before the fight, and we actually departed to China for the first fight date. It was a long flight.
“This camp has also been very long. I came three months before the fight date, but I feel good. I feel ready to fight,” said Postol.
Fight prediction: Ramirez takes care of business
Ramirez says his goal is to become the unified champion at super lightweight, then move up to the welterweight division. Winning on Saturday will position him for a fight with Josh Taylor for all the belts. Taylor makes his own title defense on September 26 in London. “I know Viktor Postol stands in the way of that, and he is a very experienced fighter. I have been training very, very hard for this fight,” said Ramirez.
Postol is no pushover. He has a herky-jerky awkward style and knows how to use it to his advantage catching opponents unaware. He hasn’t scored a stoppage since his most impressive win in 2015 against a battered Lucas Matthysse. He will present resistance but not a true threat to Ramirez, who continues to quietly impress hardcore fans. He’s deserving of a bigger platform waiting for him at welterweight.
Undercard lineup: Barboza Jr. vs Luis, Rodriguez vs. Wilson, Muratalla vs. Bland
On the undercard, some familiar performers in The Bubble make a return. Junior welterweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr. of Los Angeles (23-0, 10 KOs) will fight Canadian veteran Tony Luis (29-3 10 KOs).
Dominican knockout artist Elvis Rodriguez (8-0-1. 8 KOs) hopes to keep his knockout streak going at seven against Cody Wilson of West Virginia (9-2. 6 KOs) in a six-round welterweight fight.
Fans will also see the return of the fighting pre-school teacher, Gabriel Muratalla of Fontana (4-0, 3 KOs) against Justice Bland of Brooklyn (2-0). Muratalla has emerged as one of the most charming stories out of the pandemic talent pool.
UK action starts the day: Dubois vs Snijders
Fans can get a marathon of boxing action on ESPN+ starting earlier on Saturday with a card from London featuring heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois’s return to the ring. The 22-year-old undefeated powerhouse’s knockout performances are creating plenty of chatter about his potential and rising star. The six-fight card starts at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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