Boxing: Viktor Postol Stops Lucas Matthysse in 10th

By Joseph Santoliquito Oct 3, 2015
If a war breaks out in Ukraine, Viktor “Iceman” Postol is expected to answer the call as a soldier. Lucas Matthysse was supposed to be a warrior of a different level.

The true soldier won out Saturday night from the StubHub Center, in Carson, California, on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark.”

Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) pulled off a mild surprise stopping the favored Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) at 2:58 of the 10th round, winning the WBC world super lightweight title Danny Garcia vacated.

Postol’s victory creates a future 140-pound showdown between the Ukrainian and Terence Crawford, the 2014 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year.

“I didn’t plan to knock him out, I came in and planned to box, and the count came,” Postol said. “I took a few hard shots, but that’s why my nickname is ‘Iceman,’ because I can take a punch. It would be my pleasure to meet (Terence Crawford).”

The 5-foot-11 Postol dominated most of the fight. He landed 113 of 509 total punches, to Matthysse’s connect rate of 96-218. Postol jab was the difference. He connected on 36-267 jabs (to Matthysse’s mere 14 of 83 jab connects), and that opened up his power shots (Postol’s power shots: 77-242; Matthysse: 82-198).

By the 10th, Matthysse appeared broken. He crumbled under a Postol right hand that exploded on Matthysse’s left eye.

“I felt a pop in my eye,” Matthysse said.” I could have gotten up, but I decided to protect my eye. I felt well. Nothing happened for me tonight. He’s not the best. He had his night, and I didn’t have my night.”

Early on, Matthysse came out and took with a looping left hook that caught Postol on the face. At the end of the first, Postol had a red welt on his left rib cage.

In the second round, Postol began establishing his length over the smaller Matthysse, finding a rhythm with his jab. It denied the 5-8½ Matthysse from getting inside and using his power shots. By the third, Postol gained some confidence, letting his hands go working combinations. Matthysse’s power was a nonfactor through the opening three rounds.

Gaining more confidence, Postol dropped and landed a strong body shot. Matthysse couldn’t get inside Postol’s jab. Matthysse may have gotten away with a low blow, and a tactic that had to frustrate Matthysse was each time he closed in, Postol had a tendency to hold him. During the fifth, referee Jack Reiss gave Postol a warning about the holding, letting him know that if Postol holds, he’s open to getting hit behind the head.

With less than a minute left in the sixth, Matthysse popped Postol with a right to the head, which to that point, was his best punch of the fight. Until that point, it was Matthysse’s best round, connecting on 14 of 29 (48-percent). But he made Postol feel his power.

Matthysse followed the sixth by wobbling Postol with a right to the chin in the early portion of the seventh. Matthysse knocked Postol with a left hook in the last minute of the round. The Iceman, however, did come on late to make it an interesting round to score—asking the judges to base it on either Matthysse’s power or Postol’s volume.

Maybe the seventh was Postol’s wakeup call, because he had Matthysse in a little trouble in the eight, causing Matthysse reeling backwards after absorbing a hard right hand. Postol connected on 14 of 59 shots in the eighth. In the ninth, Postol rendered Matthysse defenseless going backwards. He forced Matthysse against the ropes, bouncing a combination off his head, using his jab as the causeway to open up his power shots.

Postol’s jab and size began wearing on Matthysse’s resolve. That bore through with his jab and power shots. Postol closed the show with a right on Matthysse’s left eye. Matthysse collapsed and took a knee, as Reiss counted him at 2:58 of the 10th.

On the undercard, in a scheduled 10-rounder, junior welterweights Antonio Orozco won a unanimous and respected veteran Humberto Soto got into a spirited brawl, especially in the second round, which was defined by great back-and-forth action. Each time Orozco (22-0, 15 KOs) stepped inside and tried attacking the body, Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs) made him pay with looping shots up top to Orozco’s head. After three rounds, Soto was arguably ahead.

The looming question was whether or not Soto could keep up the pace. He did.

After six, the 35-year-old Soto was still in the fight. And again, Soto was hanging in.

In the ninth, Orozco was penalized a point by referee Jerry Cantu for a low blow. Between the seventh and eighth rounds, Cantu had gone over to Orozco’s corner and warned them if he saw a low blow, he was going to take a point away. But the shot Cantu called Orozco landed was right on the waistband and not technically below the belt. It was a close fight. But it’s not what the judges saw. Judges Max DeLuca and Pat Russell both saw it 97-92 for Orozco, while Fernando Villareal had him winning easily 98-91.

The punch stats told a closer fight.

Soto landed a total of 184 of 529 punches (35-percent). The judges saw Orozco connect on 187 of 624 total punches (30-percent). Soto hit Orozco with a greater percentage of power shots (114-258, for 44-percent), though again, it seems the judges based their decision off the volume of power shots. Orozco connected on 133 of 400 power shots (33-percent).

Joseph Santoliquito is the president of the Boxing Writer's Association of America and a frequent contributor to's mixed martial arts and boxing coverage. His archive can be found here.


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