Bluechip junior welterweight prospect Josh Taylor faces his toughest opponent to date on Saturday, June 23 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Former WBO junior welterweight title holder Viktor Postol, age 34, is the man charged the task of testing Taylor’s mettle.
Taylor-Postol is a noteworthy crossroads matchup between one fighter on the rise, Taylor, and another, Postol, trying to maintain divisional relevancy. According to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, both are among the top fighters in the junior welterweight division.
Taylor, age 27, is well regarded in boxing circles and is seen by some as a future 140-pound world champion. With former undisputed and lineal junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford vacating his world titles to campaign at 147, and Mikey Garcia moving back down the scales to ply his trade as a lightweight titleholder, Taylor (12-0, 11 KOs) has some good space at 140 pounds to make his mark.
Taylor has limited professional experience, but he was an elite amateur. Moreover, his handlers have pushed him up the prizefighting ranks ambitiously against some relatively stalwart opposition. In 2017, he became the first fighter to stop former lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez, and he was set to face veteran slugger Humberto Soto before the latter pulled out with an injury.
A southpaw, Taylor has fast hands, good power and he really seems to maintain balance when throwing combinations.
Postol (29-1, 12 KOs) is an excellent boxer with good feet and limited power. He was a relative unknown to the world boxing scene until he shockingly knockout out Lucas Matthysse in 2015 for the WBC junior welterweight title.
Against Taylor, Postol will once again hope to play the role of spoiler. Postol is the type of fighter who appeals to matchmakers because he checks all the boxes of a promotable opponent. He’s a competent professional who knows what he’s doing in the ring. He has an excellent record and boasts solid credentials. But he doesn’t carry enough dynamic one-punch power to win a fighter via lucky punch.
Postol is incredibly crafty and has shown a proclivity to being a real force on fight night so long as he’s not facing a huge talent deficit. Against the likes of a one-dimensional Matthysse, Postol is good enough to play the spoiler. But against an elite level talent like Crawford, who handed Postol his first professional loss in the very next fight? Postol simply doesn’t enough speed or power to cope.
According to bookmaker Karamba, Taylor is a significant favorite heading into the fight at -2000. 888sport lists Taylor at -909, so depending on how you think the fight will playout, you might be able to shop around for what you want.
In general, bookmakers tend to believe high-value prospects with elite level industry leaders behind them (like Taylor has in manager and promoter Barry McGuigan) know what they’re doing when making crossroads fights like this one. Moreover, the bout will be fought in Glasgow, so Taylor should also enjoy some boisterous support from the crowd, and judges are notorious for getting caught up in home crowd atmospheres.
Postol is +675 with Karamba and +575 with 888sport. From a purely boxing betting perspective, he probably won’t be able to match Taylor’s speed and power. While his win over Matthysse proved how capable a fighter he can be in certain circumstances, his dismantling at the hands of Crawford in the very next fight lends credence to the idea that he’s a good title contender but not really an elite level talent.
If you’re looking for a value play, and you think Taylor might not be ready for a fighter as crafty as Postol, 888sport will let you lay down on the draw at +2200. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Postol outboxes Taylor over 12 rounds.
If that’s the case, picking the draw isn’t a bad option because history suggests judges sway toward the money fighter at home (Taylor), so even if Postol wins 7 or 8 rounds, the best he might be able to get out of town with would a draw.