The bout between WBC and IBF junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez and mandatory challenger Viktor Postol, twice postponed in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, is now expected to take place this summer, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Thursday.
Arum said he expected the fight to take place in the first or second week of August but that the date would be contingent on Postol getting into the United States from his native Ukraine, where he is currently training.
Vadim Kornilov, Postol's manager, said he has been trying to expedite Postol's journey to the U.S.
"We have a reserved ticket for him on Monday. We've just been a little bit delayed because of the protests," Kornilov said, referring to the protests that have been taking place across the U.S. in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. "We wanted to see that quiet down before we bring him here to the States. It looks like he's good to enter with no issues."
Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) once held the WBC 140-pound title. He typically trains under Freddie Roach in Los Angeles, but all gyms in the city are currently closed.
"We definitely have to wait for restrictions to be taken off as far as the quarantine of the gym and Freddie returning, but in my opinion, that should happen pretty soon," Kornilov said. "Until then, the plan is for Viktor to just start training at a private gym we can find locally and get back into shape, and then wait for the restrictions to be taken off."
While Top Rank's June and July schedule in the States will take place exclusively at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Ramirez's manager, Rick Mirigian, who has helped market and promote Ramirez into one of the biggest regional draws in the sport in Fresno, California, is hoping to bring this fight to California's Central Valley.
''I'm preparing options for Top Rank for California, a casino and an arena," Mirigian said. "I'm going to prepare those options for them to consider."
Mirigian has had numerous meetings with venues as well as discussions with Andy Foster, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, in the hopes of staging cards with a limited number of spectators. The Save Mart Center in Fresno is Mirigian's priority, but he declined to disclose what casino he also has pursued.
"That is the goal -- to have some sort of a California audience with the bare minimum. A small 'studio' show, which could be Ramirez's family, some key sponsors, etc. Keep it small," said Mirigian, who also reiterated that these events would still have social distancing regulations and mandatory masks in the venue.
Ramirez will be relieved just to get back into action and satisfy this fight against his mandatory challenger. If the fight takes place in August, Ramirez will have been out of the ring for more than a year. His most recent bout came against Maurice Hooker on July 27, 2019. Since then, he has had his sights set on a fight against Josh Taylor, who has the other two major belts at junior welterweight.