DSH Boxing Notebook: Viktor Postol's stunning KO win over Matthysse, Adrien Broner gets serious

October 6, 2015

This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook recaps a stunning upset in the junior welterweight division, and examines the successful return of one of the sport's most controversial fighters.  Take a look:

Postol KO's Matthysse

Carson's StubHub Center rarely disappoints when it comes to action and drama, and this past Saturday was no exception, as Ukraine's relatively unknown Viktor Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) earned a shocking 10th-round knockout over slugger Lucas Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) to capture the vacant WBC super lightweight world title in front of a packed house of 7,025.

Matthysse entered as the heavy favorite with chatter of a future fight against Manny Pacquiao in the works after his bout with Postol.  Apparently, Postol did not get the memo about those plans because he used his superior height and reach advantage to safely box Matthysse from distance throughout the night.

An energized Matthysse rallied briefly in the middle rounds, at one point appearing to stun Postol in Round Six with a right hook, but that momentum was short-lived, as Postol nullified Matthysse's attack by holding on the inside, and unleashing jabs and body shots on the outside.

"Before the last round I told our corner that our opponent was very tired and ready to go out," said Freddie Roach, Postol's trainer.  "He was coming in with his head leaning down.  We told Viktor, 'Now is the time for a right uppercut and a left hook.'  Viktor is a good student of the game.  He followed the game plan perfectly.  This was, really, one of the greatest wins of my career."

In Round Ten, Postol landed a clean right to the face of a charging and frustrated Matthysse, forcing him to cover his eye and take a knee.  He failed to beat the count, claiming later that he injured his eye from the blow.

"I felt comfortable with the pace of the fight," said Matthysse.  "I also feel that I had dominated a few rounds and we were even in the cards. But, he got me with that right cross and hit my left eye. I felt there was damage to my eye and I also didn't feel my body. The pain was instant and I knew I had to stop because I wasn't sure what my eye looked like. But, fortunately nothing happened. My team tells me that it looks good. But, Postol is not the best yet."

Postol's breakthrough win caused him to reflect on his career journey after the fight.

"The punch felt natural to me because we practice it over and over at Wild Card," said Postol.  "I started boxing when I was 12 years old in a gym outside of Kiev. My ultimate goal was to win a world championship even when I was a little boy. I made a decision to come to America, which is the Mecca of boxing. This is my third fight with Freddie Roach. I am the world champion because of Freddie and my other trainers at Wild Card. They taught me and they gave me strategy. During this fight, they told me what to do. I followed Freddie's instructions and I threw that last combination to win the fight.  I beat a very strong, powerful champion to win the title."

As for Postol's future?

"Viktor Postol will be a real force in the 140 and 147 pound divisions," said promoter Bob Arum.  "He had a terrific fight tonight.  He will be hard to beat.  Top Rank will have some big very fights for him."

On the Postol-Matthysse undercard, San Diego's Antonio Orozco (23-0, 15 KOs) defeated veteran Humberto Soto (65-9-2, 35 KOs) via unanimous decision in a brutal 10-round super lightweight fight.

Although Orozco lost a point for a low blow in Round Nine, the fight overall was entertaining and featured some quality back-and-forth action.

"I feel great about the win," said Antonio Orozco. "It has been something we have been working for my entire career. This means that we have stepped it up in competition, and I am ready for a world title fight. I felt that I set the pace to this fight, but it wasn't easy. Soto is a tough fighter, he came prepared and I have a lot of respect for him. This was a great learning experience for me and proves I am ready for the next step in my career."

Kovalev temporarily cancels plans for Russia bout

WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) was scheduled to fight for the first time as a champion in Russia, his home country, in late November, but the fight has been postponed due to scheduling conflicts.

According to a press release from his promoter Main Events, Kovalev will return to the ring "very early in 2016." The date, opponent, and location have not been determined, but undoubtedly, fight fans are hoping that opponent will be Adonis Stevenson.

"The two fights would simply have been too close together," said Main Events' CEO Kathy Duva in a statement.  "As we worked on Sergey's schedule for next year, it became clear that the best course would be to schedule his first bout in 2016 as early in the year as possible. While Sergey is disappointed that the bout in Moscow must be postponed, he understands that the change in schedule is necessary at this time and he will return to Russia to fight in front of his fans there as soon as possible."

Kovalev, a consensus top-five pound-for-pound boxer and 2014 Fighter of the Year, has been an extremely active champion since winning his first title in August of 2013. He has defended his titles six times, including defeating the legendary Bernard Hopkins in a unification bout in November of last year.

Broner finally gets serious

After his loss this year to Shawn Porter, Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (30-2, 22 KOs) was written off by many as a talented, but unprofessional fighter who failed to take his craft seriously.

Perhaps that loss was a good wakeup call for the fast-handed Broner, who increased his punch volume from recent bouts and easily won his fight by 12-round TKO over Khabib Allakhverdiev in front of 5,932 hometown fans at the U.S. Bank Arena.  Broner also won a belt in his fourth weight division.

Allakhverdiev (19-2, 9 KOs) took Broner’s best shots without going down, but with an in-shape Broner upping the punishment in the last round, referee Harvey Dock decided to wave the fight over at 2:23.

“Honestly, a young guy like me, they just threw me a lot of cash at a young age.  It was hard to adjust to the fame, to the lights. After my last fight I said I wasn’t putting my all into it,” said Broner. “It’s definitely all up to me. After that bell, no one can help me. I’m still AB, but this next half of my career I’m going to be about boxing and about business. Nothing has changed. I’m comfortable at whatever weight my opponent is comfortable at. But I’m getting wiser, I’m getting older.”

Broner looked sharp in his return to the super lightweight division, as he landed 50 percent of his power punches, including some nice left hooks and right uppercuts.

“No question Broner won the fight. He is the real thing and tonight he showed it,” said Allakhverdiev’s promoter Vlad Hrunov.

On the undercard, IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Jose Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs) stayed undefeated and successfully defended his championship via 12-round split decision over Florida’s Edner Cherry (34-7-2, 19 KOs).

Pedraza prevailed in the closely contested and difficult-to-judge battle by the scores of 117-111 twice and 112-116.  The two 117-111 scores were highly questionable.

“I won the fight. It was a very tight fight and very hard fight, but I definitely won the fight,” said Pedraza. “I was very calm when they were reading the scores because I knew I won. I’m very happy. We did a great job and started strong, but Edner had his moments. With my team, we used our intelligence to get the victory. I was able to change my style, switch to southpaw and Cherry couldn’t handle the left hand.”

Cherry landed the harder punches and pressed the attack, while the southpaw Pedraza was very elusive and countered well with quick combinations.

Cherry was gracious in defeat saying, “I just left it in the judges’ hands. If I knocked him out it wouldn’t be up to the judges. It’s them. That’s the judges. That’s what happens when you leave it to the judges. I’m not taking anything away from him. It was a good fight.”

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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