Top Rank again promote on ESPN in the USA this Saturday night, in the hope of it being third time lucky for a twice postponed clash at ten stone for the unified Super-Lightweight title.
Jose Carlos Ramirez (25-0, KO17) finally puts his WBC and WBO crowns on the line against the tough and experienced Ukrainian, Viktor Postol (31-2, KO12), with the fight taking place inside The Bubble inside the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.
Both men haven’t fought for over a year, and were originally scheduled to meet in February this year in China, but the incoming Pandemic shelved the contest.
It was re-arranged for Fresno, California in May, but when the COVID-19 worldwide crisis took hold, the bout was forced to bite the dust once again.
Ramirez has matured into a dominant champion since winning the WBC belt back in March 2018. That night, he took the vacant strap with a points win against Amir Imam.
He has made three successful defences since, beginning with a wide points win six months later against Antonio Oroczo, with Ramirez putting his man down twice in rounds four and eight.
After negotiating the challenge of Jose Zepeda by majority decision, the Californian unified his title by adding the WBO version in what was his last outing in July last year.
It was expected to be a 50/50 type affair with Maurice Hooker, but Ramirez knocked down Hooker in the opener, before stopping ‘Mighty Mo’ inside six rounds.
He will attempt to shake off over a year of ring rust against Postol this Saturday night.
Postol is a former WBC champion himself at 140 pounds, but at 36, time is running out for ‘The Iceman’ to once again reign in the division.
The California-based Ukrainian has been a professional for some near 13 years, and boxed in Bosnia, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia in his early career, before cracking America by May 2014.
He came of age in a WBC title eliminator against Selcuk Aydin, scoring an eleventh round knockout against the Turk.
It would be over a year before he got his crack at the famous green belt though, and he knocked out Lucas Matthysse in ten rounds to claim the vacant crown in October 2015.
He would ship the title in his very next fight, as the gifted Terence Crawford dropped Postol twice on the way to a wide points win in their unification match in Las Vegas.
Postol was dropped in his comeback fight in his homeland too, again in the fifth against Jamshidbek Najmtdinov, but came through on the cards.
The match was enough to convince Josh Taylor to take a leap in class to face Viktor in Glasgow, and the Scot dropped Postol in the tenth, and won an unanimous decision, although Postol pushed him hard.
Since that defeat Postol is unbeaten in two, first defeating Siar Ozgul over ten in Glasgow in November 2018, and he was last seen in April last year, taking an impressive wide points win over Mohamed Mimoune.
Prediction: Ramirez certainly looks like the real deal, and will want to avoid any slip ups in his quest to further unify against WBA (Super) and IBF champion, Josh Taylor, who defends his belts in London next month.
Postol will be tough throughout, but Ramirez will put a high volume of punches his way, and could score an early knockdown on the way to pounding out a wide win on the cards.
Heading a sparse undercard is Los Angeles Super-Lightweight Arnold Barboza Junior (23-0, KO10) who takes on Canada’s Tony Luis (29-3, KO10) over ten rounds.
Barboza is gradually stepping up in class, and his best win is arguably his third round knockout of a faded Mike Alvarado in April last year.
Luis is best remembered for a trip over the pond in April 2015, where he was outscored by Derry Mathews in Liverpool for the Interim WBA Lightweight belt.
He has won ten straight since his return to the Americas, but Barboza should be a cut above here and score a comfortable enough points win.