By Keith Idec
No matter what happens Saturday night in Glasgow, Josh Taylor has earned Viktor Postol’s respect.
The former WBC super lightweight champion was “really surprised” when the Scottish southpaw readily agreed to fight him in just Taylor’s 13th professional fight. Postol, 34, has lost only to Terence Crawford and has more than twice as much pro experience.
“I was really surprised when I heard Taylor was taking this fight because he’s only had 12 fights so far, and he’s decided to test himself against a former world champion,” Postol told Press Association Sport. “But that’s also why I have respect for him. I believe he has the power and the right mentality to come for this fight. But yes, he’s taking a risk fighting me. However, it’s a risk worth taking for him and I always respect the guys who take risks.”
The winner of their WBC elimination match Saturday night is expected to become the mandatory challenger for WBC 140-pound champion Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs).
The 27-year-old Taylor (12-0, 11 KOs) has been much more active than Postol heading into their 12-round fight.
Ukraine’s Postol (29-1, 17 KOs) has boxed just once since Crawford defeated him by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 140-pound title unification fight in July 2016 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Uzbekistan’s Jamshidbek Najmiddinov (18-1, 12 KOs) dropped Postol in the fifth round of that September 16 fight in Kiev, but Postol came back to win a 10-round unanimous decision.
Postol, who’s rated No. 1 by the WBC, and New Orleans’ Regis Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) were supposed to fight for the WBC’s interim super lightweight title March 9 in Deadwood, South Dakota. An injured Postol withdrew from the Prograis bout because he suffered a fractured thumb during training camp.
Prograis knocked out former IBF/IBO/WBA champ Julius Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) in the second round March 9 to capture the WBC interim title.
“My aim is to get back on top,” said Postol, who knocked out Lucas Matthysse to win the WBC title in October 2015. “The two years since the Crawford fight have been an awkward situation. I have barely had a fight since that defeat and it’s not been the most comfortable position to be in. But I’m still proud that I fought Crawford and took him the full distance. Since that fight, Crawford has moved up in weight and smashed all his opponents, so losing was no disgrace.
“It’s hard to know how long I’ll fight on for, but right now I have power and desire, so maybe another three or four years. But if I want to achieve all the things I still have plans for in boxing, then it’s pivotal I win this fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.