The Tartan Tornado continued to storm his way through the light welterweight division by overcoming the stern test of former WBC world light welterweight champion Viktor Postol on Saturday night.
It’s fair to say that when the fight was announced, it raised more than a few eyebrows within the boxing world. Josh Taylor only 12 fights into his professional career was to take on the hugely talented Ukrainian who had only suffered one defeat in his 30 fight career, that was to pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford.
However, the bold move from the Scot paid off as he emerged victorious in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro by way of unanimous decision in a highly entertaining bout. Yet again though, as is all too often the case in boxing, questions have to be asked of the scoring as all three judges had it wide for Taylor in what appeared to be a much tighter affair.
Both fighters tried to establish their jabs during the early goings which saw the two skilled 140 pound boxers pierce each others guards with crisp blows. A clash of heads in round two caused a cut to open up above the right eye of Postol, a common occurrence throughout the bout as the southpaw Taylor jostled for lead foot positioning with his orthodox opponent.
Not to be deterred, the 34 year old appeared to edge ahead as the fight crept into the middle rounds. He proved superior at managing the distance between the two and boxed smartly at range behind a persistent jab, mixing in clubbing rights to the body effectively.
Taylor was never far behind however and found most success landing straight left hands from range on the solar plexus of his opponent. On the occasions where the Edinburgh native found himself in close, he held his own in the exchanges and looked dangerous with whipping left hooks.
Towards the end of the sixth round the fiery Scottish crowd stirred in support of their man as he jolted Postol with a crisp right uppercut and followed up shortly after with a powerful, looping left hand across the temple.
It was not enough to crack the veneer of composure coming from The Iceman who fired back in the following round. Punishing right hands to the head of Taylor forced him to smother and hold on to see out the round.
Anybody who had claimed prior to the fight that Viktor Postol was over hill was no doubt concealing a few blushes at this point. However, as the night wore on, the older man began to feel the pace and relied on his considerable experience and ring craft to tie up Taylor and buy time to catch his breath.
The 27 year old showed no signs of slowing down despite having never fought past eight rounds previously. This proved to be of little consequence as he began to turn the tide in the ninth.
He came out his corner with renewed vigor and put together aggressive combinations eventually timing a monstrous right hook which sent Postol stumbling backwards. He fought back valiantly however and traded with Taylor late in the round only to end up on the receiving end of more vicious left hooks which had been utilized so effectively throughout by the Scot.
In the tenth, the crafty veteran was floored for the third successive fight when he walked onto a huge left hand. Postol beat the count but was given no time to think as Taylor immediately swarmed all over him again. The bell brought the round to a close, thankfully for Postol, and the crowd rose to their feet in adulation.
The poise and skill on display which had marked the early proceedings were gone as both men took turns trying to end the fight with huge shots.
Twelve rounds under the lights had wilted neither man’s desire and for the final two rounds they went back and forth at each other, trading flurries until the final bell brought the contest to an end. Both fighters raised their hands and elicited a raucous response from the fight fans inside the arena who had clearly got their moneys worth.
It appeared as though the younger man had edged the action over a grueling twelve rounds. However the judges produced shockingly wide scorecards of 119-110, 118-110 and 117-111 all for the local. For what it’s worth, this writer had it 114-113 in favor of Josh Taylor.
With his win, Taylor has improved his record to 13 wins from 13 fights and cemented his place as one of the best in the world at 140 pound, propelling himself to a shot a Jose Ramirez’ WBC world title belt in the process. He made his intentions clear in the post-fight press conference regarding the prospect of fighting for a world title.
“I’d like to travel for it, to go and win it, you know, go there and challenge him in his back garden and win it, bring it back to Scotland and fight at Edinburgh Castle.”
For Postol, it will be a tough loss to take as it likely ends his chances of fighting for a world title again. However, he showed that he is still a force in the division and may yet have a few fights left in him.