Josh Taylor’s dream of a world title shot remains on course after he secured an impressive points win over Viktor Postol at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
The self-styled Tartan Tornado extended his professional record to 13 straight wins as he powered his way to the front of the queue to take on WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez.
The fight was a final eliminator to face the American and Taylor made the most of his opportunity as he put in a disciplined display against his Ukrainian opponent, himself a former world champion.
Taylor made his mark in the 10th round as he knocked Postol to the floor with a perfectly-timed left hook, having had Postol on the ropes in the fifth without being able to finish him off.
But the Scotsman’s efforts were recognised by the judges, who comfortably scored him the victor by a 118-110, 117-110, 119-108 margin.
Taylor started cautiously as he resisted throwing any wild shots that might hand Postol an early gift.
The 27-year-old began to move through the gears, however, and the southpaw sent out a warning with a couple of big rights in the second round.
Pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford is the only man to have previously beaten Postol and the Iceman refused to be ruffled when Taylor connected with another thudding left hook in round three.
When the Scot caught him off-guard as they broke from a clinch, a quick shake of the head was the only mere hint of frustration.
Postol was bundled to the floor early in the fourth but referee Ian John Lewis ruled it a slip. He responded with a series of jabs that did enough to quell Taylor’s aggression.
But Taylor has learned from last year’s bout with Miguel Vazquez where his impatience almost cost him. Working his own jab well, he waited for the openings where he could land to the body.
Taylor was forced to put his gloves on the floor at the start of the seventh as Postol reigned blows down but again Lewis refused to sanction the knock-down as he signalled Postol had held Taylor’s neck down.
Postol was getting through the Edinburgh fighters’ defences with increasing regularity, but a well-placed right to the body was Taylor’s response as the eighth got underway.
A brief trade-off at the end of the stanza brought a round of appreciative applause from the Glasgow crowd.
And Taylor’s faithful were off the seats again in round nine. A double jab forced Postol back and there were further decent shots as the home favourite got through with a powerful left hook and a smart three-punch combination.
And having sapped Postol with numerous crunching body shots during the 10th, Taylor got the breakthrough he was looking for as he sent a left hand over the top to send his opponent tumbling backwards.
The 34-year-old survived the count and came back with a quick-flash flurry that momentarily dazed Taylor, but he closed out the contest in a confident manner.