Yesterday evening, Viktor Postol won a convincing tenth-round technical knockout over Lucas Matthysse to capture the vacant WBC Junior Welterweight title.
Matthysse, favored by most to defeat the now-28-0 boxer from Kiev, got off to a slow start. It was not for a lack of effort that Matthysse could not compete with Postol — his power punches slipped short of the long and athletic Postol time and time again. Matthysse worked, only to find that when he did land, Postol was quick to regroup and catch him with a counter shot.
Matthysse’s best punch of the fight probably came in round six; when one of his right hooks caught Postol by surprise. “The Iceman” recovered quickly, and resurfaced from the sixty-second break with some of his sharpest work.
By round ten, Postol was out of reach. If four-and-a-half inches in height and arm length wasn’t already enough to separate the Ukrainian from Matthysse, the loss of round after round on the scorecards compounded Lucas’s discrepancies. Matthysse’s hopes of winning the WBC Junior Welterweight title faded with every missed punch; every lost opportunity to turn the fight around.
Matthysse made a conscious decision to stay down for the ten count as the fight was stopped at 2:58 of round ten.
A left hand finished the job for Postol, a product of Top Rank and Elite Boxing Promotions. He wins his fourth fight in the US, and, more importantly, becomes a world champion with a win over one of boxing’s hardest punchers. Matthysse is now 0-2 in world title bouts, having been stopped for the first time in his career. This defeat snaps a three-fight win streak since his loss to former undisputed 140-lb champion Danny Garcia, and drops Matthysse to 37-4.
In the evening’s co-feature, gifted up-and-comer Antonio Orozco showed some kinks. He failed to dominate an experienced, well-prepared, “legendary,” in the words of Michael Buffer, opponent in Humberto Soto. It was a close call even if the scorecards didn’t reflect it.
Despite an unjust point deduction for a borderline low-blow in round nine against Orozco, no judge gave Soto more than three rounds: 98-91, 97-92, 97-92, they called it. Orozco won the fight, but calling a fight like this by only the numeric column in which it lands might undervalue just how useful it was to the development of a fighter.
Soto’s timing was superb, and in his concise, energetic forays, he landed at a much higher rate of accuracy than did Orozco. He punished the unbeaten prospect for his mistakes, but wasn’t consistent enough in this remediation for it to be called a victory.
Orozco threw many more punches, and after struggling mightily to start the bout, he showed a willingness to adjust and go against his typical strategy. He used his feet to tire the champion and did enough in the final two rounds to take a well deserved victory. Soto loses no ground and likely remains in the top ten of a somewhat depleted — but actively replenishing — junior welterweight division.