SATURDAY (June 23) sees a fascinating clash take place, one that has all the hall marks of A classic “crossroads” battle. In Josh Taylor vs Viktor Postol, Scotland’s unbeaten sensation Taylor will take on the former WBC world champion Viktor Postol in a final eliminator for that world title. Thus far the highly touted Scotsman has enjoyed a flawless start to his professional career; dispatching a domestic rival (Ohara Davies), destroying an old veteran (Miguel Vazquez), doing so with an air of ease and looking like there are still gears left to go through. Taylor is one of the most highly thought of prospects in world boxing, and for good reason. This piece of ambitious matchmaking shows just how much confidence the McGuigan team have in their charge.
Viktor Postol serves as a real acid test for Josh Taylor in only his 13th professional contest. Postol is a former WBC world champion. He has mixed with terrific company becoming the first man to stop the wrecking ball Lucas Matthysse. Postol also became the first man to stop power punching Turk Selcuk Aydin. So, while not being known as a vaunted power puncher, he has enough power to gain respect and cause a major upset should Taylor’s defensive radar not be in tune. The “Iceman” was touted to be a long-time ruler of the division after vanquishing Matthysse, he ran his record to 28-0 before squaring off against pound-for-pound kingpin, Terence Crawford in a hugely anticipated unification match. That evening couldn’t have gone much worse for Postol as he was out-thought and out-fought, dropping a unanimous decision while spending most of the night bamboozled by the skills of Crawford.
Being beaten convincingly by Crawford is not a cause for concern given his immense talent. What was/is worrying however for Team Postol was his inability to deal with the southpaw style of Crawford. I am not saying Taylor is a Crawford level talent, yet he is a big, strong, fast and hard punching southpaw with excellent skills and Olympic pedigree. The similarities could be very apparent in this contest. Should Postol have success I feel he would need to return to his roots; get behind his jab, use his range, his reach and try to run Taylor into one of his sneaky hard counters.
Taylor has become one of the hottest prospects in world boxing and for good reason. A tall rangy southpaw, with blinding speed and two-fisted power. Taylor has carried his vast successful amateur pedigree over into the professional ranks. While not one of the most touted of the recent Olympians to turn over, he started quietly under the radar and exploded into national consciousness with his definitive victory over rival Ohara Davies. That fight had all the ingredients in the build-up; needle, verbal back and forth, pushing and shoving at the weigh in/presser. It truly captivated the boxing audience. Taylor then went out on the big stage and delivered a scintillating performance, outclassing Davies and forcing him to retire in the seventh round. Taylor built on that breakout performance by then becoming the first man to stop former world champion Miguel Vazquez. Postol will be hoping this isn’t an ominous sign! As someone who has shared numerous rounds of sparring with Taylor, I can attest to his quality. Josh Taylor needs to be Josh Taylor in this fight, do what he normally does and what he does best. Use his fantastic footwork to get in and out of range, use that long rapier-like jab at distance and go to the body hard up close.
Should Taylor come through this assignment against Postol then the WBC title shot awaits. The stakes are high, and the rewards could be astronomical. I can’t see past a Taylor victory in this contest, a performance that will tell the world what people on these shores have known for a while: Josh Taylor is one of the best prospects in boxing, he is now one the best fighters in his weight class and will surely be a world champion.
Prediction – Taylor to win via TKO around round 10. The accumulation of hard body punches taking the fight out of a brave and valiant Postol.