The fight between unified junior welterweight world titlist Jose Ramirez and mandatory challenger Viktor Postol was officially rescheduled on Monday.
The fight will headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on May 9 (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET, with preliminary bouts streaming on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Top Rank said.
The co-feature was also unveiled. It will pit former junior lightweight and lightweight world titlist Jose “Sniper” Pedraza against 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier Molina in a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight fight.
Ramirez-Postol was originally slated to take place on Feb. 1 at Mission Hills Haikou resort in Haikou, China, but was postponed on Jan. 23 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Ramirez, a native of Avenal, California, will be fighting in his home region.
“We are pleased that Ramirez and Postol will finally fight May 9 from the great city of Fresno,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. “Viktor is a worthy mandatory challenger who earned his title shot, and Jose will be fully prepared to make a statement. And for Jose, this could be his last fight in Fresno for a long time, so I expect the Central Valley faithful to fill up the Save Mart Center for a special evening.”
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs), 27, will be making his fifth title defense and fighting for the first time since he knocked out Maurice Hooker in the sixth round to unify two 140-pound belts last July. Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), 36, of Ukraine, a former world titleholder, won a unanimous decision over Mohamed Mimoune last April in a title eliminator to become one of Ramirez’s mandatory challengers.
Ramirez had no issue going to fight Postol in China, but he is happy to be able to once again fight in Fresno, where he is a major ticket seller.
“It is always a blessing to fight at Save Mart Center in front of my loyal fans” Ramirez said. “I prepared for Postol once, and I will be in top form May 9. My trainer, Robert Garcia, will have me ready for whatever he brings to the table. [Postol] is a former world champion who I cannot underestimate.”
Postol said he did not care that the fight will be in Ramirez’s backyard instead of on neutral territory in China. He just wants his opportunity to win another world title.
“I am glad the new fight date is set. I’m already in gym, and camp is going really well,” said Postol, who is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach. “I was ready to fight on Feb. 1 and now I’m focused on May 9. The fight is taking place in his hometown, but that does not bother me because I have the experience to fight on away soil. I am looking forward to become a champion again.”
Postol and Roach had already arrived in China before the fight was postponed.
Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs), 30, a 2008 Olympian from Puerto Rico, is coming off a 10-round decision loss in his junior welterweight debut against Jose Zepeda last September. A second loss in a row would be a major setback.
“This May 9 fight against Javier Molina will be crucial for my career. This is a crossroads fight, and I will do everything in my power to return to the winning route against a world-class opponent,” Pedraza said. “I know Molina very well. I saw him fight while we were at the 2008 Olympics in China. He is coming off a couple of big wins and is looking for a world title shot at 140. I’m also looking for a world title shot and that makes this fight a significant and interesting one.
“I’m working extremely hard because I know that to get a world title opportunity I can’t have another loss on my record. I will get a big win against Javier Molina on May 9, and after that, the ‘Sniper’ will aim for a world title at 140.”
Molina (22-2, 9 KOs), 30, of Norwalk, Calif. Molina, has won five fights in a row, including an eight-round unanimous decision over former world title challenger Amir Imam on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder II undercard on Feb. 22 in Las Vegas.
“I’m happy to get right back in the ring with another tough opponent,” Molina said. “With a win over Pedraza, I feel like it should definitely set me up for a title shot next. I’m excited to be on ESPN once again and continue to get that exposure. I’m just ready to go.”