Viktor Postol is a professional. No flash, no nonsense, just an honest boxer who shows up to fight when his name is called.
And as far as he’s concerned, that’s the point.
“To me, everything is very simple,” said the former WBC junior welterweight champion through translator Aliko Frolov. “Be a human being first. My parents raised me to always stay humble, never talk trash, never be disrespectful to anyone. There is absolutely no difference when it comes to how much money you have, how many fights you won, who you beat or who you are. Always stay humble, always be a human being first. It means a lot that people respect me the way I am. I don't like to act or be part of a show. I'm here to fight, I'm a boxer and the main goal for me is to always be respectful to all people. All people are equal and that's how my parents raised me. That's the most important thing.”
In keeping to what his parents taught him and how he’s carried himself over the course of 33 pro fights, Postol is currently in Southern California, far from his home in Ukraine, training for a fight he isn’t sure will happen with WBC / WBO champion Jose Ramirez. But since he signed on the dotted line, he’s here, ready to work until he’s told otherwise.
In the middle of a pandemic, one that was under control back home before a recent surge in cases.
“It started early over there, and we locked down earlier than in the United States,” Postol said. “As soon as the virus started spreading out all over the world, Ukraine was already locked down, so it wasn't as bad as in the United States. The government did a really good job protecting people from this virus. Now everything is coming back and reopening, and things are getting better.”
COVID-19 matters are still dicey in the U.S., with reopening coupled with surges of infection around the nation while some spots seemingly have it under control. Postol, who has already seen the Ramirez fight postponed twice – first in China in February, then in Fresno in May – is like all boxers in that this is truly an unprecedented time.
“I'm a veteran in this sport and I've pretty much seen everything,” he said. “But I'll be honest, stuff like this is happening for the first time for the whole world. For me, personally, the fight is getting rescheduled already twice, and I'm in camp for the third time for the same fight, so it's crazy for me. It was the first time ever that my fight got canceled on fight week. It never happened to me before.”
Postol had already made it to China before the first postponement, and now he’s in the U.S. hoping the August date comes off. Is he confident that he will finally get his shot at Ramirez?
“Obviously I cannot tell you that I'm confident that it's gonna happen because two times it was already rescheduled, but things happen,” he said. “And this year things happened differently. But I'm preparing for the bout. I'm pretty sure that everyone in the boxing world wants to see this fight and I hope that everything plays out well and we'll see each other in the ring in August.”
It's a fight worth seeing, with the rising star Ramirez looking to follow up his big win over Maurice Hooker last summer with a victory over his mandatory challenger in Postol. If he does, the fight everyone wants to see is one pitting Ramirez against Josh Taylor in a clash for all the belts at 140 pounds. In the process, some believe Ramirez beating Postol is a gimme.
But the 36-year-old Velyka Dymerka native, who has upset apple carts before, most notably in his title-winning knockout of Lucas Matthysse in 2015, is no pushover and not one who takes kindly to be taken lightly.
“Today, a lot of people are saying that when Ramirez will beat Postol, his next fight will be against Taylor,” he said. “First of all, you have to beat Postol. That's the first thing you have to do. I have all this experience in the pros and I fought great fighters, and I'm never against the better man to win the fight. We're going to meet in the ring, and if he (Ramirez) can beat me in the ring, that will give him a lot of credit and experience. That's all I can say. But first you have to pass me before you say that you'll fight Taylor.”
That’s Viktor Postol, the professional. Overlook him at your own peril, because while this is his job, there’s something more to it for him. He’s been to the top of the mountain once, and he may just be a few weeks away from getting there again. That’s enough to make all the sacrifices worth it.
“My number one motivation today is to prove that a lot of people are wrong and become a world champion,” Postol said. “That's the main goal in my career - I want to become a two-time world champion - and it doesn't matter what belt it is. I just want to become a world champion. Of course, I want to fight in big fights, I want to fight for good money, but that's not the main thing for me. For me, the most important thing is to become the world champion for the second time.”