Local fan favorite Josh Taylor, who had never previously gone beyond eight rounds, took a big jump up in class on Saturday and passed the test with flying colors, turning away scrappy Viktor Postol in a good-action fight that had more drama than one could have gleaned from the scorecards. Taylor cemented the victory by knocking Postol down hard with a crunching left hand in the 10th stanza, but the LA-based Ukrainian, a former WBC 140-pound champion, was game to the end. In the final tally, the “Tartan Tornado” prevailed by generous scores of 119-108, 118-110, and 117-110.
The fight was billed as a WBC junior welterweight title eliminator. Postol, who lasted 12 rounds with Terence Crawford in his lone previous defeat, had good success in the early rounds keeping Taylor at range, but the Scotsman, a southpaw, eventually closed the distance and wore him down with body punches. It helped Taylor’s cause that a clash of heads near the end of round two left Postol with a cut over his right eye. The cut reopened late in the fight.
Entering the bout, Postol (29-1 going in) and Taylor (now 13-0) were ranked 1-2 by the WBC. The organization, in their infinite wisdom, recognizes two 140-pound champions, Jose Carlos Ramirez and Regis Prograis. (Regardless, it’s a division brimming with young talent.)
O2 Arena, London
In a messy 12-round middleweight clash marred by low blows and excessive clinching, Martin Murray improved to 37-4-1 with a unanimous decision over 38-year-old Weslaco, Texas, invader Roberto Garcia who declined to 41-4. Garcia, who entered the contest on a 13-fight winning streak, had points deducted for low blows in the second and ninth rounds. The scores were 118-108, 118-109, and 116-111.
All four of Murray’s defeats have come in world title fights (vs. Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, Arthur Abraham, and George Groves). He was initially slated to fight WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders but Saunders backed out, not once but twice, claiming injuries, opening the door to Roberto Garcia.
In a light heavyweight contest slated for 10 rounds, Anthony Yarde became the first man to stop Dariusz Sek, putting away the Polish southpaw in the seventh round. Yarde (16-0, 15 KOs) knocked Sek (27-4-3) down with a short left hook in the opening round and was in control of the fight from the opening bell.
Yarde, who had only 12 amateur fights, entered the fight ranked #2 in the WBO ratings behind Marcus Browne. The WBO champion is Sergey Kovalev.
Also, Daniel Dubois won the vacant BBBofC heavyweight title with a fifth round stoppage of Tom Little. The prized prospect of veteran promoter Frank Warren, Dubois was extended beyond the third round for the first time in his young career, but forged his eighth knockout in as many starts.
Dubois, who carried 236 ½ pounds on his six-foot-five frame, deposited Little on the deck in the fourth round with a body punch and the bout was stopped in the next round with Dubois punishing his domestic rival. The precocious Dubois, only 20 years old, is expected to defend his newly-won belt against fellow unbeaten Nathan Gorman.
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