By Steven Bateson
Josh Taylor defeated Viktor Postol via unanimous decision in a final eliminator for the WBC Super Lightweight Championship in Glasgow on Saturday night.
It was a tremendous nip and tuck affair, full of drama, that demonstrated all the skill you’d expect from the elite at this weight class. Both fighters had plenty of success and it went down to the wire, a tremendous finish from Taylor, including a tenth round knockdown, allowing him to take one step closer to realising a lifetime ambition.
Postol, surprisingly, started as the aggressor and came out pumping his jab. Taylor was showing his footwork and movement but landing little as Postol nailed a solid left to the body and continuously let his right hand go from distance. Taylor was faster out of the blocks in the second and caught Postol off balance with a left hand before a cuffing right caught the Ukrainian high on the side of the head. Postol was still going to the body though and having success from range, any idea that his better days where behind him were being quickly dispelled.
Both men were scrapping in close in the third, the referee happy to let them battle out of the clinch, and Taylor was finding success with meaty left hooks at the closer distance. Postol learnt his lesson quickly and got back to his jab in the fourth, keeping Taylor off balance, and although he ate a left hook counter from Taylor in close he answered back with a lead left uppercut and right cross. The partisan crowd were roaring their man on but it was becoming apparent that he was going to be pushed to his limits.
Postol controlled the fifth off his jab, Taylor looking a little uncouth at times and lacking in ideas of closing the distance, but then the Prestonpans fighter roared back into life in the sixth. He quickened the jab and was hitting straights to Postol’s body before letting a short range right hand go that stiffened the vistor’s legs for the first time. A sweeping left hand then rocked Postol back but he was quick to hold on and showed his veteran skills to negotiate the round.
And in the seventh the fight swung again; Taylor seemed to be bamboozling Postol by switching stances and nailing body shots but then Postol struck home with a left uppercut and left hook that hurt Taylor for the first time in his career. Postol followed up with a heavy right hand as Taylor tried to dance out of the range and the former world champ sensed he had his man hurt but Taylor was able to withstand the onslaught, showing the guts and heart of a champion in the sternest test of his career thus far.
The fight was certainly in the balance at this point and in round eight Postol went to the body but his attacks were a little less frequent whilst Taylor’s counterpunching was paying dividends . He ended the stanza with a left and right hook combination and then in the ninth he welcomed Postol onto a huge right hand counter, the legs stiffened once more but the chin held up. Taylor scored a left hook counter off the ropes, catching Postol coming in with his chin high, and although Postol took it he was becoming easier to hit.
Taylor’s corner urged him to up the pace in the championship rounds and that is exactly what he did. Taylor started hitting the body more frequently and then a huge left hand crunched into the side of Postol’s jaw and sent him crashing to the deck. Postol rose, but was visibly dazed by the punch, and Taylor set about for the finish only for the bell to spare any more punishment for the visitor.
Postol and his corner perhaps sensed the fight was slipping away from them and their man abandoned all pretence as he threw caution to the wind to swing the fight back in his favour. Postol walked onto a short right hand counter in the eleventh but he shook it off and answered back with a left hook and a stiff right to the body. Postol was undaunted by the ravenous crowd and he chose to stand toe to toe with Taylor as both men swapped heavy shots to close the stanza.
The twelfth and final round saw both men leave it all in the ring as they traded leather in front of a baying audience. Taylor was quicker to the punch, looking fresher, but Postol refused to wilt and answered back in kind every time it looked as though he was about to be overwhelmed.
It was a tremendous advert for boxing and displayed both men’s world champion credentials. Postol is still a test for anybody at 140lbs whilst Taylor, in only his thirteenth pro fight, has now shown that he deserves to be mentioned at the summit. Taylor is now mandatory to WBC Champion Jose Ramirez and that fight may take place before the years out, however there is also the possibility that Taylor will sign up for the World Boxing Super Series and seek his prize through that platform. It is an exciting time right now for the division and Taylor will be one of the leading lights heading into the future.
Scorecards read: 118-110, 117-110, 119-108 (they are disgusting scorecards. Postol was competitive throughout and lost by 3-4 at the very best)
Lee McGregor took just four rounds to dispose of Goodluck Mrema to win the IBF Youth Bantamweight title.
Edinburgh’s McGregor (4-0 with 4 KO’s) looks to be on the fast track to stardom and proved again why he is one of the highest rated prospects on the British shores. He was excellent from the outset, using excellent speed and counter punching to keep Mrema guessing what might be coming his way next. McGregor displayed maturity beyond his years and experience and will now be pushed on toward bigger and more appealing fights in he near future.
It was a feeling out process in the first but McGregor’s size advantage was already very apparent and he was able to use that size to land a clean shot at the end of the stanza, sending out a message of what was to come. Mrema, to his credit, came out for a fight in the second and had his success but he was struggling to close the gap, lamenting his lack of reach, and was being picked off by the talented Scotsman.
Whilst it appeared competitive, Mrema throwing plenty, he was always second best in the exchanges and it looked as though he may just get caught by an unseen counter that could unravel him. That counter came in the fourth round; both men were throwing wildly and then a left hand caught Mrema on the side of the head and sent him staggering backward toward the ropes. McGregor gave chase and landed an overhand right, a left hook and then dodged a desperate attack from the Tanzanian as he landed another right. Mrema was soon back against the ropes and McGregor, his size more daunting than before, landed a crunching right to the temple followed by a short left that sprawled his foe across the ropes. The referee administered the count and Mrema did not rise, unable to recover from the damage.
McGregor’s team won’t want to rush him too quickly, the Bantamweight division is stacked with talent, however there are plenty of fights out there for him at domestic, European and fringe world level. Don’t be surprised to see him competing for the vacant British Title within the next twelve months, he really is huge for the weight and will prove difficult to beat.
Heavyweight prospect, Martin Bakole took less than two minutes to decimate DL Jones, successfully defending the IBO Continental Title in the process and sending out a message to the rest of the division’s up and comers.
Trainer, Billy Nelson has been touting his fighter for some time and Bakole did not disappoint as he walloped Jones from the opening bell. A left hand counter to the temple, as DL rushed forward, seemed to take Jones’ legs away, dropping him, as early as the first minute and although he rose he was already a beaten man. Bakole poured it on and displayed heavy artillery as he just punched through his opponent’s guard until Jones slumped down on the ropes. The Kent boxer did rise but the referee decided he’d suffered enough, waving the contest off.
Bakole (now 11-0 with 8 KO’s) took two less rounds to dispose of Jones than Daniel Dubois did and that will send a statement of intent to the rest of the chasing pack. Bakole’s team seem desperate to match him with a higher level of opposition so it will be interesting to see if anybody rises to the challenge after this. There are certainly some very intriguing bouts out there if promotional teams are willing to do business.
Chantelle Cameron extended her unbeaten record with a sixth round stoppage over former world title challenger Natalia Aguirre.
Cameron (now 7-0 with 5 KO’s) displayed terrific power punching, speed and combinations as she dominated an opponent who was expected to push her more than anyone has yet in her professional run. Cameron hit the body well early doors but was open to silly, naïve counters at times through the second and that will need to be addressed at the highest possible level.
Aguirre went down in the third off what was called an uppercut, however it looked more like a bundled coming together and was perhaps a little unfair on the visitor. The Argentine was fine to continue but she was eating stiff jabs and starting to take a considerable beating from the Northampton starlet.
Aguirre was now attempting to hold and spoil up close, showing signs of deterioration, but Cameron was relentless and continued to bang the body in an attempt to force her opponent to wilt. Aguirre can be commended for her guts as she continued to sustain heavy weather in the fifth, a left hand clattered against her jaw and then a big right hand rocked her but she would not give it up. But it was all just too much in the end as the fight was halted in the sixth; a barrage dropped Aguirre early and although she was able to beat the count she was a sitting duck for another onslaught which forced referee Howard Foster to spare her anymore damage.
Cameron is making big waves as a Lightweight and is the current IBO titleholder. With her skillset there is some huge fights out there for her and many will begin to talk about potential meetings with Natasha Jonas and Katie Taylor, as well as the rest of the elite in this weight class. Cameron does not need to be treading water, she’s taking care of former world title challengers with ease, so now is the time for her team to start looking toward the big fights.