This evening at the SSE Hydro Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, junior welterweight Josh Taylor signaled his entrance into the ranks of world class fighters in just his 13th professional bout. He did so by winning a (way too goddamn) wide unanimous decision over Ukrainian Viktor Postol by scores of 117-110, 118-110, and 119-108. TQBR was not carefully scoring the bout, but 6-6 or 7-5 Taylor in rounds seemed about right. Scorecards aside, it was a wonderfully contested affair with momentum swings, consistent action, and plenty of skill.
Until battering loudmouthed Englishman Ohara Davies into quitting in July of last year, Taylor (13-0, 11 KO) was basically unknown, and given his resume at the time, that’s fair. But since then, Taylor has fought three times against increasingly talented and seasoned opponents and grown with each bout. The idea that 34 year old technician Viktor Postol (29-2, 12 KO), whose sole career loss was to Terence Crawford, might be too much for the precocious Scot was not a crazy one. Postol was, arguably, the best junior welterweight in the world. Taking on a tall, seasoned, nearly unflappable fighter such as Postol in your 13th fight could be called hubris. But it’s only hubris if you fail.
Taylor employs an educated, occasionally frenetic, southpaw attack. Postol was able to adjust and time Taylor, coming on strongly in the middle rounds, stunning Taylor with repeated right hand counters. It appeared, if only briefly, that Taylor might wilt. At the urging of his corner, Taylor doubled down on the pace and ferocity, scoring the fight’s only knockdown toward the end of the 10th round with a thudding overhand left. The 11th and 12th were nip and tuck and butt and clinch, with both fighters scoring plenty and firing their best shots.
Taylor’s team principal Barry McGuigan echoed many observers by acknowledging that the cards were too wide in the post fight interview. He’s not wrong, they were pretty bad, but they should take nothing away from Taylor’s marvelous performance, and Postol’s as well. With the departure of the otherwordly skilled and talented Crawford, and the emergence of Regis Prograis, junior welterweight is again an interesting and exciting division. Postol and Taylor are a match for anyone in the ranks.
Josh Taylor is 27 years old, which is not young, but his development into a world class professional seems to have happened almost overnight. He’s ambitious, wants the best fighters right now, and fights in a dramatic style that keeps fans fully engaged. Boxing needs more of that.
(Mar. 3 2018, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland; Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)