The former super lightweight champion returns to the ring against Mohamed Mimoune Saturday night on Showtime in a world title eliminator.
Viktor Postol and those close to him describe the former super lightweight titleholder as a steady, unflappable guy; one able to absorb inevitable disappointments and focus on the future.
As Postol put it, “That’s why I’m called The Iceman.”
That approach to boxing has come in handy the past few years. The series of setbacks Postol endured strengthened his resolve rather than bring him down.
Postol (30-2, 12 knockouts) faces fellow contender Mohamed Mimoune (21-2, 2 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round bout on a Premier Boxing Champions card Saturday in Las Vegas, live on Showtime (10:00p.m. ET/7:00p.m. PT). The fight precedes the main event, featuring Robert Easter Jr. against Rances Barthelemy for the vacant WBA "regular" lightweight title.
If Postol wins, he could be in line for a shot at Jose Ramirez’s WBC 140-pound title.
“I’ve been in boxing for 23 years. Sometimes you just get a little tired of stuff like that,” said the 35-year-old, speaking through a translator about his recent tribulations. “Then again, I had a break and I’m back. I want to fight; I want to fight two or three more years for sure.”
Postol was on top of the world three-and-a-half years ago, when he stopped then-formidable Lucas Matthysse in 10 stunning rounds to win the vacant WBC super lightweight title. The future couldn’t have looked brighter.
His next opponent? Terence Crawford. It was mostly downhill from there.
Crawford outclassed the then-unbeaten Postol to win a one-sided decision and the WBC belt.
Things didn’t get much better after that. Postol took a year off and then had a tougher time than expected in outpointing a capable young Uzbek named Jamshidbek Najmiddinov in September 2017.
That was followed by a meeting with gifted technician Josh Taylor in Taylor’s home country of Scotland nine months later. Postol was competitive but lost a wide decision and any immediate hope of regaining his post-Matthysse status.
Want more? Postol was scheduled to face Regis Prograis for a vacant interim title in March of last year but broke his thumb in training and had to pull out.
Postol looked back on his setbacks as matter-of-factly as one would expect from “The Iceman.” He said there is no shame in losing to a fighter like Crawford, who he called “an absolute champion.” So-so performances against Najmiddinov and Taylor were harder for him to accept. He blamed the Taylor loss in part on visa issues, which forced him to prepare with a backup trainer in Ukraine instead of with Roach at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. And the injury? It happens.
“ I have this feeling again, this hunger. ” Former Super Lightweight World Champion - Viktor Postol
Postol easily outpointed journeyman Siar Ozgul in November, his first fight since the thumb injury. He has since returned to the U.S.
“Yeah, these last three years have been difficult,” Postol said. “Crawford, Taylor, the thumb issue. I think if I had done my training camp in the U.S., I would’ve beaten Taylor. I don’t know, though. To go to Scotland, I think I would’ve had to win by knockout. Everyone knows how hard it is to get a decision over there.
“That’s in the past, though. I want to fight for the belt again, to show what I can do. I have this feeling again, this hunger.”
To prove he’s the same fighter who overwhelmed Matthysse? “Yes,” he said, “exactly.”
Roach wouldn’t put that past one of his favorite pupils. The Hall of Fame trainer described Postol as one of his hardest workers and as structured as any fighter he has coached. Roach knows exactly what he’s going to get from Postol in every training session.
That work ethic and the fact he’s fought only four times in the past three-plus years has allowed him to remain relatively fresh into his mid-30s.
“He puts in the hours,” said Roach said. “That’s why we get along so great, because of his work ethic. I love people who work hard. If someone doesn’t work hard, I ignore them, I don’t go near them. This is no game. If you think boxing is fun, you should go play checkers or something.
“Boxing is a very rough sport. You have to give your all at all times. Viktor does that.”
That’s not the only reason Roach has continued to work with Postol. Some people might not view Postol as one of the top fighters in the world in light of his recent results but, Roach points out, Postol certainly does.
Roach will stick with him as long as he has that attitude and retains his abilities.
“Viktor wants to get to the top,” Roach said. “That’s the only reason he’s back, to win a world title. If a world title weren’t in the picture, I’d tell him to retire. If he didn’t have the potential to win a world title, I wouldn’t be with him.”
For a closer look at Easter vs Barthelemy, check out our fight night page.
- Easter vs Barthelemy