UPDATE: The show has been officially canceled. — Scott (Jan. 24, 9:27 am ET)
All signs point to Jose Ramirez’s February 1st title defense against Viktor Postol in Haikou, China needing a new date and location. The Athletic reports that the fight has been canceled due to concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak that’s killed 17 people so far. Bob Arum tells ESPN that the final decision will be made tomorrow, but that “[t]he chances are the fight will be canceled.”
The good news: it looks as though the relevant parties will attempt to reschedule the card rather than scrapping it entirely.
“We were told [by Ramirez manager Rick Mirigian] not to go to the airport and they would let us know in 24 hours,” Robert Garcia, Ramirez’s trainer, told ESPN. “I really don’t know what will happen. I think more likely than not it will be rescheduled in the United States in the next few weeks, but as of right now they told us just not to take our flight and they will let us know. Because of the virus it might be too risky. We were in the gym this morning, and Jose is ready for the fight.”
Arum said if the fight is indeed called off, it likely would be rescheduled in the United States.
”We’d have to get a location to have the fight and clear a date with ESPN,” Arum said. “All of those things have to be done. It’s a bummer, but better safe than sorry if that’s what happens.”
The card already took a hit earlier this week when a shoulder injury forced Masayuki Ito out of his co-main event slot opposite Yang Yongqiang. The middleweight bout between Esquiva Falcao and Yilixiati Ainiwaer was tabbed to take its place, but the point appears to be moot.
The main event figured to be an intriguing clash of styles, so it sucks to see it pushed back. Definitely a fair reason, though; these guys are already compromising their health enough. We’ll let you know when and if they manage to put this back together.