Viktor Postol feels the time is right for his return against Gary Antuanne Russell
Skilled former WBC junior welterweight titleholder Viktor Postol will end an 18-month layoff when he returns against highly regarded prospect Gary Antuanne Russell at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas on Saturday, February 26.
Postol, who exited The Ring ratings at 140-pounds due to inactivity, appreciates his younger rival will present a difficult challenge.
“I understand the fight will not be easy for me, it will be a hard, tough fight,” Postol (31-3, 12 knockouts) told The Ring through Oleg Ladik. “I know who Gary Antuanne Russell is, he’s a rising prospect and rising star. There is no underestimating of him, I’m preparing for a hard fight.”
The 38-year-old Ukrainian last saw action when he gave then WBC titlist Jose Ramirez all he could handle in August 2020.
“I gave him a really good fight, I think the fight was close,” said Postol, who dropped a 12-round majority decision. “When I re-watched the fight, I understood I could have done more in that fight. I tried to do that in the fight but I couldn’t.”
Since then, Postol has had to patiently wait for his next opportunity.
“I took a couple of months’ rest and then I got back to training again,” he explained. “Once I got back to training, I contacted my manager regarding the next fight and opponent. I think due to pandemic reasons there weren’t so many offers for me to fight.
“The offer from Gary Antuanne Russell’s team was the first real offer since then and I took it at once.”
The rangy technician began camp in Ukraine before as usual heading to train under the watchful eye of Freddie Roach at the Wild Card, Hollywood.
“I am taking this fight very seriously,” he said. “I’m coming for the win so I need to be prepared 100 percent.
“I’m 38 now, I still have a goal to become a world champion again. I can prove that by the fights I fought, the opponents I fought, each top opponent I fought and my record. I gave all my opponents really hard fights. This fight is very important to me due to the long lay-off, many experts think I’m done but I’m not done yet.
“A win in this fight makes me a top five or top three of the division right now, and it will give me opportunities and new chances with top guys. It’s a great opportunity for me to get back in the game with top opponents. It’s very important for me to win on February 26.”
Russell was a standout amateur who represented America at the 2016 Olympics, losing at the quarterfinals stage to eventual gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov. Since turning professional, the younger brother of former WBC featherweight beltholder Gary Russell Jr. has won all 14 fights inside the distance, however, this is a marked step-up in opposition for the 25-year-old southpaw.
The Showtime event will be headlined by Chris Colbert who faces late substitute Hector Luis Garcia in a WBA junior lightweight title eliminator. Also on the card, long-reigning IBF junior bantamweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas will look to defend his belt against Fernando Martinez. The broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
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