Jose Ramirez, Viktor Postol agree to terms on mandatory fight

The representatives for unified junior welterweight world titlist Jose Ramirez and former titleholder Viktor Postol came to terms for the mandatory fight Wednesday just before a purse bid was scheduled to take place in Los Angeles.

Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, which promotes Ramirez, and Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, representing Postol, had been close to a deal for a week and finally agreed on terms before the promotional rights would have been auctioned off to the highest bidder. But they informed the WBC that they had a deal and the purse bid was canceled.

Top Rank will promote the fight, which likely will take place Feb. 1 in the main event of an ESPN-televised card. A site has yet to be announced.

"Open communication between all parties, especially [WBC president] Mauricio [Sulaiman] and the WBC, was the key to making the deal," Moretti told ESPN. "Dealing with Tom was easy. We understood each other's needs. Hopefully, it will lead to making more fights down the road. We both know a thing or two about a thing or two."

Moretti was referencing Brown's role as the lead promoter for most Premier Boxing Champions events and one of PBC founder Al Haymon's closest confidants. Top Rank and PBC are fierce rivals and have rarely done fights together, but they have a number of attractive matches that could be made if they could work together.

Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs), of Avenal, California, unified two 140-pound world titles by sixth-round knockout of Maurice Hooker on July 27. The 27-year-old hoped to make his mandatory against Postol before the end of this year, but he injured his left hand against Hooker and had surgery in August, which put off his return.

Ramirez will be making his fourth title defense when he faces Postol (31-2, 12 KOs), 35, of Ukraine, who outpointed Mohamed Mimoune in Las Vegas on April 27 in a title eliminator to become one of Ramirez's mandatory challengers.

Postol won a vacant world title by knocking out Lucas Matthysse in the 10th round of an upset victory in October 2015, but he lost the belt in his first defense, a wide decision to Terence Crawford in a unification bout in July 2016. Postol's only other defeat came by decision in June 2018 to Josh Taylor, who unified the other two junior welterweight titles by decision over Regis Prograis last Saturday in the final of the World Boxing Super Series.

"Postol will not be an easy mandatory for Jose, especially being trained by Freddie [Roach] and his team," Moretti said. "But we believe Jose is getting better, bigger and stronger with each outing, and is the best in the 140-pound division."