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Viktor Postol vs. Josh Taylor on June 23 in WBC 140 title eliminator

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By Scott Gilfoid: Unbeaten Josh Taylor (12-0, 11 KOs) will be facing 34-year-old former WBC light welterweight champion Viktor Postol (29-1, 12 KOs) on June 23 in a WBC 140 lb. title eliminator to pick out a mandatory challenger to face WBC champion Jose Carlos Ramirez. The Postol-Taylor fight will take place at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

Taylor is from Scotland, so his will be a home country advantage for him. However, it’s going to be a tough fight for him, because he hasn’t fought anyone good yet since turning pro in 2015. Taylor fought in the 2012 London Olympics but was quickly eliminated from the competition in a loss to Domenico Valentino by a 15-10 score. In 2014, Taylor won the Commonwealth Games.

WBC light welterweight champion Jose Ramirez will be fighting Regis Prograis next. The winner of that fight, which figures to be Prograis, will then defend against the Postol-Taylor winner. It’s going to be awfully tough for Postol or Taylor to handle the punching power and the accurate shots from Prograis. This guy is fighting at a very high level right now. Postol, 5’11”, who comes from Ukraine, mostly likes to stand on the outside and throws a lot of shots. That style will be difficult for the 5’10” Taylor to deal with unless he can get the better of him with his speed and his slick fighting style.

One thing Taylor has going for him is his height. He’s also as tall as Postol. There’s just 1 inch that separates the two, although Postol has a 4-inch reach advantage. The real problem that Taylor and Postol will have is when they face Prograis. That guy hits so hard. Taylor can’t run from Prograis, because he cuts off the ring so well when he faces runners like Taylor. Postol’s high volume work rate will put him in the line of fire for Prograis, and we could see a knockout in that fight. Taylor will do better against Prograis, but only because he’ll likely be running.

”This is definitely my toughest opponent to date, and Viktor Postol should be the perfect test for me at this stage of my career,” Taylor said to ESPN.com. “He’s taken on and beaten some of the best fighters in the world, and I know he’ll be coming here with the hope of spoiling the party. To know I’ll be in line for a world title shot if I get the win has really put the fire in my belly,” Taylor said.

Postol is good test for Taylor, but the real test is Prograis if he gets past Ramirez. Taylor will likely get hometown advantage against Prograis, so that in theory could help him if the fight is close. Unfortunately, Prograis has a way of making his fights one-sided due to his punching power. Unless the judges are scoring the fight based on cheering rather than what’s going on inside the ring, Prograis will have a good chance of beating Taylor due to his much better power. Taylor can punch a little when he throws to the body, but if he gets that close to Prograis, the fight could be over with straightaway. I’m just saying.

Postol hasn’t been fighting a lot since 2016. Postol fought once in 2016, losing his WBC 140lb title in a 1 round unanimous decision to Terence Crawford in July of that year. Crawford was too fast for Postol. Since then, Postol has fought just once in beating Jamshidbek Najmiddinov by a 1st round knockout victory in a tune-up fight earlier this year on January 28 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Postol has the chance to face Prograis for the interim WBC light welterweight title on March 9, but he suffered a thumb injury and had to pull out of the fight, according to Dan Rafael. It’s perhaps a good thing for Postol that he did get injured, because Prograis would have likely beaten him soundly. Postol is a good fighter, but he’s getting up there in age at 34, and he doesn’t have the kind of power to stand and trade with a knockout artist like Prograis.

Postol’s game is centered on his high-volume punch output. If he fights like that against Prograis, he would likely get blasted out quickly. Postol’s high volume punch output works well for him when he’s facing much shorter fighters than himself like the 5’6” Lucas Matthysse, who he stopped in the 10th round to win the vacant WBC 140 lb. title on October 3, 2015. That might as well have been a lifetime ago, as Postol has fought only two times since then in the last 2 ½ years. He’s not taken advantage of that win. Postol should have fought two to three times in 2016 and 2017. Instead, Postol has fought just once against an obscure fighter from Uzbekistan. What a waste.

As for Taylor, he’s been matched very, very carefully by his management since he turned pro. Taylor’s nest wins thus far have come against former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez and Ohara Davies. Taylor knocked both of those guys out. However, neither of them is in the same league as Postol. The way Taylor looked in those fights suggests that he’s going to have a lot of problems beating Postol. Taylor looked like someone who was getting over on his size advantage rather than on his talent.

Taylor won’t be the bigger guy against Postol, so there’s a good chance he’ll lose the fight. But with the fight taking place in Taylor’s hometown, you can’t rule out a controversial decision. Hopefully, the judges score the fight in a logical manner either way. The last thing Postol and Taylor need is for the judges to turn in a set of oddball scores that make little sense. Taylor didn’t look that great against Vazquez and Campos, even though he won both fights by knockouts. Taylor was fighting much smaller guys with zero punching power.

Taylor is easy to hit, and that could result in him getting nailed by a lot of punches from Postol. It’s a good thing for Taylor that Postol isn’t a big puncher, because the fight will likely go to the scorecards. Against a puncher like Prograis, Taylor’s chances of going the distance will be greatly diminished.


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