By Charles Brun: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says Jose Ramirez will be fighting Viktor Postol in August, and also IBF/WBA 140lb champion Josh Taylor will face Apinun Khongsong in August or September. Additionally, Michael Conlan and Carl Frampton will be returning next month in August.
Ramirez-Postol will be a good fight, but I can’t say the same about Taylor-Khongsong. That’s a mismatch.
Jose Ramirez vs. Viktor Postol
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) will be defending his WBC 140-lb title against mandatory Viktor Postol (31-2, 12 KOs). This fight was supposed to have taken place already, but the pandemic got in the way.
Unless something else pops up to further delay the fight, Postol, 36, and Ramirez will be fighting in August. Ramirez needs to get this fight done with so that he can face Josh Taylor in a clash for the undisputed 140-lb championship. That’s the fight that boxing fans have been looking forward to last year.
Ramirez, 27, is looking almost unbeatable right now with him dominating his opposition. The last time Ramirez was involved in a competitive fight was last year in his close 12 round majority decision win over Jose Zepeda in February 2019.
In Ramirez’s last fight, he stopped a weight drained WBO light welterweight champion Maurice Hooker in the sixth round last year in July.
Josh Taylor vs. Apinun Khongsong
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) is stuck with an inferior opponent in Apinun Khongsong. That’s another IBF special. For some reason, the mandatory challengers from the International Boxing Federation are often so inadequate and ill-prepared to fight for world titles, it just makes you wonder what their criteria are in picking out eliminator fights.
The 23-year-old Khongsong beat Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18 KOs) by a fifth-round knockout last year in an IBF title eliminator. The real question is, why a guy like Kondo fighting in a title eliminator with a record as he has? Khongsong is likely to be another excellent example of a completely over-matched IBF mandatory challenger.
After Taylor’s last big fight against former WBA light-welterweight champion Regis Prograis last October, it’s going to be a real downer for him to be facing a no-name in Khongsong.
Taylor will likely do easy work of Khongsong, and then face Ramirez, assuming he beats Postol.
Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan
Featherweight contender Michael Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) will be fighting in August for his first fight in 2020. He hasn’t fought since last December when he beat Vladimir Nikitin.
Top Rank will need to do something with the two-time Olympian Conlan because he doesn’t appear to have enough talent to do much in the pro ranks. A lot of boxing fans are already losing patience at the slow rate that he’s being moved. When you compare Conlan’s glacially slow career path t the 21-year-old Ryan Garcia, it’s like night and day. Ryan is moving a lot faster, even though he never fought in the Olympics.
Carl Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs) is fighting for the first time since defeating Tyler McCreary by a 10 round unanimous decision last November. That was a bounce-back fight for the 33-year-old Frampton, who lost to Josh Warrington by a 12 round decision in December 2018.
Former two-division world champion Frampton is still a good fighter, but he’s only capable of being a belt-holder at this point in his career. Frampton wants to become a three-division world champion by capturing a title at 130. It’s going to be hard for him to do that unless Top Rank matches him carefully.
Frampton’s best bet in winning a title at super-featherweight is for him to fight WBO champion, Jamel Herring. He’s the weakest link among the champions at 130, but he’s a tough guy. It won’t be easy for Frampton to beat Herring, but it’s possible if he fights as he did against McCreary.