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Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol official for February 1st in Haikou, China

The fight was originally slated for November 30th, but Ramirez needed more time to recover from hand surgery
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

We’ve known about it for a while, but now it’s officially official. Jose Ramirez will make his first defense as unified WBC/WBO super lightweight champion on February 1st, taking on veteran Viktor Postol in Haikou, Hainan, China. Despite the latitudinal complication, the ESPN event is slated to begin at 10:00 PM Eastern.

While “clash of styles” is terribly overused, it really is the appropriate phrase here. Postol (31-2, 12 KO), a rangy technician, made his name by stopping a ferocious bruiser in Lucas Matthysse back in 2015 and he now faces a man in Ramirez (25-0, 17 KO) who’s cut from similar cloth.

“I am excited to defend my belts against Viktor Postol to kick off my 2020 schedule,” Ramirez said. “I am a world champion, so it is my honor to defend my titles in front of the great fans in China. It is going to be a great experience, and I am glad that my fans back home will be able to watch me live on ESPN. As a unified champion, I am hungrier than ever.”

“It’s a big opportunity for me and a big honor to share the ring with one of the best fighters in my division,” Postol said. “I know Ramirez, as we sparred together in the past. I’m looking forward to a great fight in China.”

Ramirez was last seen knocking out Maurice Hooker, adding the WBO title to the WBC belt he claimed by battering Amir Imam last year. Postol, meanwhile, is 3-1 since falling to Terence Crawford, including a remarkable losing effort against Josh Taylor and a wide decision over Mohamed Mimoune in a final eliminator last April.

Whoever wins must then face WBO mandatory Jack Catterall, assuming Catterall gets past Timo Schwarzkopf tomorrow.

The earlier report raised the possibility of Jamel Herring, who just recently defended his WBO super featherweight belt against Lamont Roach Jr., appearing on the card, though Top Rank has yet to confirm this.

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