“JOSH TAYLOR is not your typical 12-fight fighter,” said commentator Al Bernstein in the early going of the Scot’s wild and wonderful 12-round points victory over Viktor Postol in Glasgow. And so it proved.
It’s true that the scorecards in Taylor’s favour (119-108, 118-110, 117-110) told a one-sided tale on a two-sided fight, but they should not be allowed to interfere with the truth: Taylor deserved his victory as he defeated one of the best super-lightweights in the world.
This was always going to be a gamble for the 27-year-old and the uncertainty increased at the sound of the opening bell. As Taylor swung wildly with his left, the composure of his accomplished opponent was evident. Controlling ring centre and bouncing with the kind of ambition that belied both the odds against him and his advancing years, Postol, 34, expertly found the space to fire a right hand into the favourite’s stomach.
Taylor had some success in the second, briefly it appeared that he was in complete control, but Postol’s efforts in the third and fourth rounds ensured the storyline remained more risk than reward. Postol was excellent from distance. He often punished Taylor’s attempts to burrow inside, until a left hook wobbled the underdog ever so briefly. It was high tempo stuff, and world class boxing from both.
The seventh round was a thriller as but there could be no doubt that Postol’s punches were the more eye-catching at that point. Taylor, to his immense credit, stood tall and refused to buckle. By the ninth, after readjusting his approach and displaying a largely unteachable ability to reinvent himself mid-fight, Taylor stole control of the showdown with two mighty hooks. The advice from Shane McGuigan in the corner was, as always, calm and on point.
Some questioned Cyclone Promotions’ logic beforehand. Some felt it was a leap too great. In the end, the gamble, the risk, and the jump in class, was expertly played.
Taylor, always forced to work hard for the slightest chance, hustled and bustled his way into pole position in the 10th. Another supreme left hook crashed into Postol but this time it was unsighted and the Ukrainian tumbled to the mat. He was hurt and, for the first time, visibly dishevelled.
Postol made a fight of it over the final six minutes, making a mockery of claims he was in Scotland only for the payday. He was there to win. He was there to show exactly what he had left. In the end, he had plenty but it wasn’t quite enough.
The cards did them both a disservice because it was a fight that deserves to be remembered only for the efforts inside the ring and not the incompetency outside of it. The judges may argue that every close round belonged to Taylor. And they should be made to explain their lopsided tallies. But ultimately, this was the night that Josh Taylor, not your typical 12-fight fighter, arrived.
He’s not your typical 13-fight fighter either. At a time when your average 13-fight prospect is working his way through the ranks at a much lower level, Taylor proved he’s one of the best in the world.