Jose Ramirez grinds out majority decision over Viktor Postol to retain unified junior welterweight titles

Jose Ramirez kept his dream of becoming an undisputed champion alive, but it wasn't easy.

The WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion had to grind out a majority decision (116-112, 115-113, 114-114) over Viktor Postol at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night. With the victory, Ramirez did his part to set up a showdown with fellow unified junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor, as long as the Scottish boxer successfully defends his WBA/IBF titles against mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong on Sept. 26 first.

Although he won the bout Saturday night, Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) wasn't impressed with his own performance.

"There was a little bit of hesitation through the fight," he said live on ESPN+.

The 28-year-old knows he can't afford to hesitate in a clash against Taylor with undisputed glory on the line.

"I could show more," he said about the possible showdown. "When I come across Josh Taylor, I'm going to show that."

Postol proved to be a tough out for Ramirez, who needed trainer Robert Garcia to light a fire up under him following the sixth round for the unified champion to ramp up his aggression. That's when the veteran trainer implored his charge to not give away any more rounds and to flat out take more risks.

Ramirez responded by picking up the pace and managed to briefly buzz Postol with a short left hook to the chin during the seventh round.

He kept the aggression coming, as he gave chase to Postol and even showed a willingness to eat the Ukrainian's jab if it meant getting inside to tee off and unleash more power shots.

Still, the 36-year-old former world champion, Postol, proved to be pesky and crafty, as he stole the 10th round behind his long jab and a stiff right hand that briefly stunned the champ. That same round ended strangely, when Ramirez went for a lunging left hook, got spun around and tagged by a sharp right from a waiting Postol.

The last two rounds were closer to end the bout, with judges crediting Ramirez for getting inside of Postol's jab enough and landing more shots to declare the unified champion the winner on two out of three scorecards for the victory.

After the bout, Ramirez also commented that he'd like the Taylor fight to be in London in front of fans, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The same global crisis had postponed the Ramirez-Postol fight twice, as it was originally slated for Feb. 2 in China and then, May 9 in Fresno, Calif.

If the Ramirez-Taylor bout comes to fruition, each fighter will be vying to become the fifth male boxer to become an undisputed world champion since the modern four-title era. Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, Terence Crawford and Oleksandr Usyk achieved the feat previously in that order.

Co-main event: Arnold Barboza Jr. def. Tony Luis by unanimous decision (99-90, 99-90, 99-90); Junior welterweight

It was all Barboza from start to finish, as he dominated the action and proceeded to call out veteran Alex Saucedo after his win. The undefeated Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs) said he thinks a bout with Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs) will be a "great fight."

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