Jose Ramirez retained the WBC and WBO junior welterweight world titles in a close battle against Viktor Postol on Saturday night.
Postol's tactical boxing style made Ramirez strategically uncomfortable throughout the fight, and neither man ever truly took control of the action. However, it was Ramirez who ultimately got the majority decision win by the scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
With the victory, Ramirez kept alive his chances of fully unifying the 140-pound division against Josh Taylor, who holds the WBA and IBF world titles.
Ramirez, a frenetic pressure fighter, was kept at bay for much of the fight by the long reach of Postol, who worked the perimeter of the ring adroitly for long stretches of the fight. While many of the rounds were close, Ramirez generally appeared the busier fighter. He was able to stun Postol a few times with left hands in the seventh and eighth rounds.
But Ramirez was never truly able to impose his will on the always-composed Postol. Unfortunately for Postol, his game plan wouldn't be enough to capture the two belts.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this bout had been canceled twice prior. Both fighters had not fought in more than a year.
Ramirez said the long layoff and the crowdless environment affected his performance.
"I went in there a little too cold, you know?" Ramirez said after the fight. "I impressed myself. I'm much stronger than most guys think. I just gotta not lose confidence in myself and stick to what I do best and box, let my hands go and not hesitate too much. I think there was a little bit of hesitation throughout the fight.
"I felt like I was just in a sparring session. I think I could've made the fight a lot easier in my favor, but we live and we learn. This was an amazing experience. I'm just happy I got the win."
Ramirez cleared a significant hurdle in his quest to become the first fighter of Mexican heritage to capture all four major belts in a division.
Ramirez's attention now turns to Sept. 26, when Taylor faces his IBF mandatory challenger, Apinun Khongsong. A victory by Taylor could set up a title unification bout with Ramirez.