Junior welterweights Regis Prograis and Viktor Postol will meet for a vacant interim world title on March 9 after the promoters made a deal Wednesday and avoided a purse bid scheduled to take place Friday.
Promoter Lou DiBella, who represents Prograis, told ESPN that he made a deal with Ukraine's Elite Promotions, which represents former world titleholder Postol, for Postol to come to the United States for the bout.
DiBella said the fight would be televised on Showtime, which has aired Prograis' recent fights, at a site to be determined.
"It's a terrific opportunity for Regis because Postol has a big name," DiBella said. "Postol is a step up for Regis and a stepping stone to bigger things if he can win that interim belt, but more important is beating a fighter of Postol's quality. For Postol, the fight is an opportunity that with one fight he can be back in the picture at the top of the junior welterweight division. But Regis is hungry. Postol has tasted that championship level and money. Regis hasn't and that's what he wants."
Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs), a 28-year-old southpaw from New Orleans who relocated to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is coming off his biggest victory, a second-round destruction of then-undefeated Joel Diaz Jr. in June.
Postol (29-1, 12 KOs), 34, of Ukraine, knocked out Lucas Matthysse in the 10th round of an upset in October 2015 to win a vacant junior welterweight world title, but he lost the belt in his first defense by one-sided decision to Terence Crawford in a title unification fight in July 2016.
Postol ended a 14-month layoff following the defeat for a 10-round unanimous decision win against Jamshidbek Najmiddinov on Sept. 16 in Kiev, Ukraine.
When Crawford vacated the undisputed junior welterweight title late last year, the WBC ordered that Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) face Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) for its vacant belt. They will meet on March 17 in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN card at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. The WBC also ordered that Prograis and Postol meet for the interim title. The winners of the two bouts are obligated to meet each other.
DiBella said the March 9 Showtime card will also feature a junior welterweight world title elimination bout between Ivan "The Beast" Baranchyk (17-0, 10 KOs), 24, a Russia native fighting out of Miami, Oklahoma, and Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs), 26, of Sweden. DiBella, who co-promotes Baranchyk with Tony Holden, made a deal with Yigit promoter Team Sauerland earlier this week and avoided a purse bid on that fight.
The Baranchyk-Yigit winner will become the mandatory challenger for the 140-pound world title currently held by Sergey Lipinets, who on Wednesday was forced to postpone a Feb. 10 defense on Showtime against lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia because of a hand injury.