Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol title bout in China postponed because of Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 27:  Jose Ramirez celebrates his TKO against Maurice Hooker during their WBO & WBC Junior Welterweight World Championship fight at College Park Center on July 27, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
WBC-WBO super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez's title defense that had been scheduled for Feb. 2 in Haikou, China, against Viktor Postol has been postponed because of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. It has not yet been rescheduled. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China has forced postponement of the super lightweight unification bout between unbeaten WBC-WBO champion Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) and challenger Viktor Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), that had been scheduled for Feb. 2 in Haikou, China.

Top Rank chief operating officer Brad Jacobs said he was working to get the fight rescheduled, but did not have any details.

Postol arrived at Mission Hills Haikou, where the fight was to be held, about six hours before the decision to pull the plug. The virus spreads person to person, though the World Health Organization has not yet declared it a public health emergency of international concern.

But Ramirez was supposed to fly to China on Thursday, but the flight did not leave because of the virus.

“We’re just telling the fighters to give us the weekend to regroup,” Jacobs said. “And we’ll look to go back to [Haikou] later in the year. But this is all new and I’m trying to get Postol a flight to get him out of there now. So it’ll be a couple of days.”

Ramirez manager Rick Mirigian puts on events in Fresno, California, regularly and said he could find a venue there to hold the fight, if asked. But he noted there are significant logistical challenges even though Ramirez is from nearby Avenal and is wildly popular in the area.

Mirigian said he wanted to put Ramirez-Postol on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II undercard at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on Feb. 22. But Jacobs said that was not going to happen and that Ramirez-Postol will headline its own show.

Top Rank needs not only to find a site, but also coordinate with ESPN on a new date for the bout.

Mirigian said if there is too long of a delay in rescheduling the fight, Ramirez would likely look to just skip fighting Postol and meet IBF-WBA champion Josh Taylor instead for the unified title.

Top Rank recently signed Taylor, who defeated Regis Prograis in October in the finale of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, to a promotional deal.

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