Nearly 46 hours.
That’s how much time, including layovers, some members of Viktor Postol’s team spent traveling roundtrip from Los Angeles to Haikou, China, late in January for his ill-fated fight with Jose Ramirez.
Approximately 27 hours.
That’s how much time Postol and the rest of his seven-person party spent on the ground in China from the time they arrived in Haikou until they left after learning his fight against Ramirez, scheduled for February 1, was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
“We were upset,” Postol told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “We actually did one sparring session in China. Right after the sparring, they let us know the fight was postponed. So, it was tough. But I guess safety is the priority. That’s how it was. We just had to go home and wait for the next date.”
Postol, who will fight Ramirez on Saturday night, and two other members of his team flew from Haikou to Kiev, Ukraine, where Postol permanently resides. The four other team members, including trainer Freddie Roach, flew from Haikou to Los Angeles, including connections in Guangzhou, China, and San Francisco.
The connecting China Southern Airlines flight Roach, his personal assistant, Marie Spivey, assistant trainer Julian Chua and Oleg Kovalchuk, who’s part of Postol’s management team, boarded in Guangzhou originated in Wuhan, then the epicenter of the coronavirus.
“They told us everyone on the plane was going to get X-rays and checkups and so forth,” Roach recalled. “I’ll tell you, there was nothing like that at all. We got on the plane, we got off the plane, we got a, ‘Welcome home,’ and that was it. So, then, my crew, we took everyone to the doctor to be checked and all that. Everyone was OK.”
Postol and his team left Los Angeles the morning of January 22 for Haikou. Ramirez and his team members weren’t scheduled to leave Los Angeles until late the night of January 23.
Ramirez and company were notified January 23, before they left for the airport, that their 12-round, 140-pound title fight would be postponed indefinitely.
“We got stuck with that trip, and the other side didn’t,” said Roach, who noted that promoter Top Rank did its best to get Postol’s team out of China as quickly and safely as possible. “I was a little upset at that. Why didn’t they get sent over, also? But it is what it is. Viktor went home for a while. Then he came back [two months ago] for an eight-week training camp in LA. He got good sparring and we’ve had a great training camp.”
Ramirez, 28, and Postol, 36, will finally fight Saturday night for Ramirez’s WBC super lightweight and WBO junior welterweight titles. Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs), of Avenal, California, is listed as a 7-1 favorite in a main event ESPN+ will stream as the headliner of a six-bout card from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas (7:30 p.m. ET; 4:30 p.m. PT).
Their fight had been rescheduled for May 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. It was delayed another 3½ months, however, due to the coronavirus crisis.
“We couldn’t have seen this [pandemic] coming at that time because it was just the beginning,” Postol said. “I thought it would last for maybe one month, two months. I would’ve never thought it would’ve taken this long.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.