On Saturday night in Carson, California at the Stub Center, undefeated Ukranian light welterweight Viktor Postol claimed the vacant WBC belt when he knocked out Lucas Matthysse in Round 10. For Postol, it was the most impressive performance of his career, in the biggest fight of his career. He’s overturned the rankings at the top of the 140-pound division.
It’s not as if Postol was considered a no-hoper in this fight. He had a signficiant advantage in reach and has always shown the solid jab and footwork to exploit his length against a more compact fighter. The big question heading in was whether or not he’d be able to absorb the kind of punches Matthysse is known to throw.
Postol stood up to some big punches from Matthysse, but he also controlled the range and pace of the fight, using the jab and straight right to keep Matthysse far out of position to launch any significant offense. Postol fought tall and kept Matthysse at the end of his punches. He frustrated Mattysse and as the fight went on, he beat the tough Argentine up, putting in particularly good work with his right uppercut.
Matthysse has never lost in such decisive manner. Two of his three previous losses were hotly contested split decisions, against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. When he lost to Danny Garcia in September 2013, it was a clear win for Garcia, but far closer than Saturday night’s fight against Postol.
Matthysse is a true fan-friendly fighter. He’s been in multiple Fight-of-the-Year quality wars. Outside of the ring, in press conferences and interviews, he’s always been pure class. As a fan, it’s impossible not to feel sympathetic to him as he comes up short in yet another attempt to win a world title.
But Postol’s win serves notice that there is a new fighter of note on the scene. Postol has always shown nice boxing skill, but working with super trainer Freddy Roach at the Wild Card has paid obvious dividend for him. Roach has got him sitting down on his punches and landing with far more authority. In May 2014, he knocked out the rugged Selcuk Aydin and now he’s stopped the heavy duty Matthysse. Neither of those fighters had previously been stopped.
Postol has the perfect, angular build to generate solid power and Roach is an ideal trainer to help him develop it. Fans can only hope for a Postol showdown with WBO champion Terence Crawford sometime in early 2016.