MIND THE GAP

Tay­lor im­presses against Pos­tol, but the scor­ing causes de­bate

Boxing News - - Contents - Andy New­port

RISK ver­sus re­ward was the co­nun­drum fac­ing Cy­clone Pro­mo­tions chief Barry Mcguigan as he weighed up whether to pitch Josh Tay­lor in against Vik­tor Pos­tol.

Should Tay­lor see off the for­mer WBC su­per-light­weight cham­pion in a fi­nal elim­i­na­tor to de­cide who would next take on the cur­rent holder of the strap, Jose Ramirez, then “The Tar­tan Tor­nado” would be look­ing at a maiden global ti­tle shot just 13 con­tests into his pro ca­reer.

Lose, how­ever, and the mo­men­tum built up after eye-catch­ing wins over Ohara Davies, Miguel Vazquez and Win­ston Cam­pos might stall, leav­ing the Pre­ston­pans south­paw in dan­ger of miss­ing his big chance. Thank­fully for Mcguigan, his gam­ble paid off, as his man came through a gritty con­test at the SSE Hy­dro to claim a de­served unan­i­mous points vic­tory and leave him­self on the verge of ful­fill­ing his boy­hood dream.

It was not al­ways straight­for­ward. Tay­lor’s at­ten­tion to de­tail was slack in the early stages, forc­ing Mcguigan to warn just four rounds in: “Josh, you’re los­ing this”.

The judges, though, did not share the man­ager’s view. In the end, they barely gave Pos­tol a round, as cruel as­sess­ments of the vis­i­tor’s ef­forts threat­ened to steal the head­lines. But, cru­cially, the right man won as the Scot – back in the venue where he had won Com­mon­wealth Games gold four years ear­lier – clinched a 118-110 (Vic­tor Lough­lin), 117-110 (Fer­nando Bar­bosa) and 119-108 (Ed­die

Pap­poe) tri­umph.

Mcguigan con­ceded the score­cards were three or four rounds too gen­er­ous.

But what was un­de­ni­able was the im­pres­sive man­ner in which Tay­lor, 27, man­u­fac­tured the open­ings which guar­an­teed his big­gest win to date. With Pos­tol, 34, liv­ing up to his “Ice­man” moniker as he re­fused to be ruf­fled even after eat­ing a cou­ple of big shots early doors, it was vi­tal Tay­lor also kept his cool. Both were cut

The Ed­in­burgh-born fighter did just that as he worked the Ukrainian’s body over and over, even­tu­ally drag­ging down his de­fences be­fore land­ing a thud­ding left hook which sent Pos­tol tum­bling back­wards mid­way through the 10th. Al­though up in time to beat the count, Pos­tol – whose only pre­vi­ous de­feat in 30 pro out­ings had come against pound-for­pound star Ter­ence Craw­ford – sud­denly found him­self short on an­swers, as Tay­lor strolled through the fi­nal stages of a bout ref­er­eed by Ian John Lewis.

A punch-per­fect dis­play? No, but cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing enough to sug­gest Mcguigan is right to place so much faith in his sta­ble leader. “The most im­por­tant thing is Josh won on a bad night,” Barry de­clared. “He beat one of the best fighters on a bad night. He had to make ad­just­ments. Very few fighters, even the very best fighters, can make ad­just­ments in a fight when they have had a cou­ple of bad rounds. He should be over the moon with the way he han­dled him­self.

“Can he be­come a UK or even a world star? With­out a doubt, but it takes time for that to hap­pen. You can’t do it in 13 fights, but you can do it a lot quicker [than nor­mal] if you take risks, which we have taken through­out his ca­reer. This was a test against Pos­tol and he stood up to it. He proved he is the qual­ity kid.

“I al­ways be­lieved he is, and we’re now ready to go on and fight for the world ti­tle.”

Tay­lor added: “I feel I’m on the verge of ful­fill­ing my dream and fight­ing for a world ti­tle. That was play­ing on my mind a lit­tle bit be­fore the fight.

“I didn’t feel any pres­sure, but it was play­ing in the back of my head that if I won, I’d be fight­ing for a world ti­tle. How­ever, I felt I dealt with that well. It was a lit­tle bit of a be­low­par per­for­mance. I started very poorly in terms of de­fence and switched off too much. But I adapted and I def­i­nitely think I can be 20 or 30 per cent sharper. I’m happy enough, though, and the next one will be the big one.”

‘WE HAVE TAKEN RISKS IN HIS CA­REER AND NOW HE’S READY FOR A WORLD TI­TLE’

³ On the un­der­card, Con­golese Mar­tin Bakole made short work of DL Jones in a sched­uled 10-rounder. The African gi­ant – now based in Air­drie – needed barely a minute to get rid of his Isle of Shep­pey op­po­nent.

Jones ap­peared to mis­read Bakole’s lan­guid style and paid a heavy price. He found him­self on the floor within the first 15 sec­onds as he was caught with a shot from nowhere. Al­though he was up smartly, it wasn’t long be­fore he was sat back down as Bakole smoth­ered him with another flurry of club­bing fists to the tem­ple. Ref­eree Michael Alexan­der did the sensible thing by wav­ing the fight off after just 62 sec­onds.

“Light­ning” Lee Mcgre­gor is another red-hot prospect who Mcguigan has high hopes for. The Ed­in­burgh fighter squared up to Tan­za­nian Good­luck Mrema over 10.

Mcgre­gor was happy to go in close as he sought to press his size ad­van­tage, and he got his re­ward in the fourth round as he rocked Mrema with a big left. With the African back-ped­alling, Mcgre­gor went on the chase be­fore slam­ming his op­po­nent to the floor with a vi­cious left hook, leav­ing ref­eree Alexan­der with no op­tion but to halt the con­test at 2-18.

There was another blink-and-you’llmiss-it clash as Mcgre­gor’s cap­i­tal com­pa­triot, Tommy Philbin, dis­missed Do­minik Land­graf in­side a round (set for six). Philbin marched into the ring to the strains of Sun­shine on Leith by The Pro­claimers, but it was his Czech ri­val who was filled with “sor­row, sor­row...” as he crum­pled early doors. Philbin un­leashed a cou­ple of crunch­ing shots down­stairs which im­me­di­ately forced Land­graf to the deck. He was up at ‘eight’ but a left hook brought another quick-fire knock­down, with ref­eree John Mcguire stop­ping it after just 1-49.

Northamp­ton’s Chantelle Cameron opened the night’s ac­tion against Ar­gen­tine Natalia Aguirre and set the tone with a ter­rific dis­play. Cameron was ea­ger to get go­ing and was up off her stool a good 10 sec­onds be­fore her op­po­nent as the third round got underway. Her con­fi­dence proved well founded as Aguirre was downed near the end of the ses­sion by a flash­ing right hand to the top of the fore­head. Aguirre sur­vived that set­back but was treated like a punch bag for the next three rounds. “Lis­ten, don’t hold,” bel­lowed ref­eree Howard Foster as the South Amer­i­can des­per­ately searched for a way, any way, to sur­vive. She was even­tu­ally put out of her mis­ery at 1-31 in the sixth as another sus­tained at­tack sent her bundling over. It had been set for 10-twos. There was a de­but win for Glen­rothes’ Efty­chia Kathapouli, as the for­mer Scot­tish am­a­teur cham­pion opened up her pro­fes­sional ac­count with a points win over Prague’s Domenika Novotna.

Ref­eree Paul O’con­nor scored it 40-36 in favour of Kathapouli, al­though Novotna will feel hard done by that she did not pick up at least a round after a spir­ited dis­play. The hon­our of pro­vid­ing the fi­nal warm-up act be­fore Tay­lor took to the stage fell to Bar­rhead’s Gary Rae, as he faced up to John­son Tellez.

Nicaraguan Tellez, based in Barcelona, cut a squat fig­ure com­pared to his bean­pole ri­val, and it was ev­i­dent that Rae lacked the power to force a stop­page. How­ever, he did enough to main­tain the blem­ish-free start to his ca­reer as ref­eree Kevin Mcin­trye awarded him an eighth straight vic­tory with a 60-54 points win.

THE VER­DICT The mar­gin of vic­tory is de­bat­able, but there’s no doubt­ing that Tay­lor de­serves his win.

All Pho­tos: AC­TION IM­AGES/JOHN CLIFTON

SUB­LIME SKILLS: The qual­ity on dis­play in Glas­gow is ex­cep­tion­ally high

CEL­E­BRA­TIONS: Tay­lor’s bruis­ing vic­tory could set up a shot at the full WBC ti­tle

CLOSE QUAR­TERS: Tay­lor [right] forces his way in­side against Pos­tol

SAYS IT ALL: Tay­lor shows his re­spect to Pos­tol on In­sta­gram [be­low] after the pair em­brace fol­low­ing their bout

Pho­tos: AC­TION IM­AGES/JOHN CLIFTON

ON TAR­GET: Mcgre­gor cracks Mrema

TOO GOOD: Cameron swarms all over Aguirre

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