Concerns over the spreading Wuhan coronavirus in China have forced Top Rank to postpone a fight between Jose Ramirez and Viktor Postol.
"It's definitely off," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN. "What happened was we needed to talk to the owners of the hotel and to have them sign off on it. The courtesy when you're dealing with an entity, especially in a foreign country, is that when you are supposed to go there and you decide you're not going, to offer them an explanation and hope they will accept it. They did. They understand. They are getting cancellations left and right. So even if we went over there and did the fight we'd be playing to an empty house because nobody is traveling to China with this virus situation."
At least 17 people have died and hundreds more have been infected around the world since the virus outbreak began last month.
Ramirez and Postol were scheduled to fight at Mission Hills Haikou resort in Haikou, China, where Ramirez would attempt to defend his welterweight title February 1.
Postol and famed trained Freddie Roach had already made their way to China by the time the fight was called off. Ramirez was reportedly scheduled to fly out Thursday night.
"First time I remember canceling a fight for a reason like this," Arum said.
ESPN, which was scheduled to broadcast the bout, expressed concerns over sending their production crew to Haikou due to the virus.
There are no details on when the fight would be scheduled. Arum and Top Rank are looking for a location and date that works for all parties involved; however, the long-time promoter noted it was more likely than not the make-up fight would take place in the United States to avoid any further concerns.
"People have to fly there from the rest of China," Arum said, "and a lot of those flights are being canceled. It's a serious situation."