Viktor Postol says Josh Taylor has already earned his respect – by being brave enough to take him on in the first place.
The former WBC super lightweight champion faces the Tartan Tornado at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro tonight as he looks to get his career back on track.
The ultra-tough Ukrainian has never been stopped before and his only defeat came back in 2016 when Terence Crawford ripped away his world crown with a points victory.
Postol, 34, has fought only once since that setback but insists he remains just as strong as he was while racking up his 29 professional victories, 12 by knock-out.
Taylor’s promoter Barry McGuigan has already acknowledged that he has taken a risk by throwing the Prestonpans puncher in alongside the WBC’s number one contender.
But Postol is impressed that the unbeaten Scot is willing to take that chance only 13 fights into his pro career.
He said: “I was really surprised when I heard Taylor was taking this fight because he’s only had 12 fights so far and he’s decided to test himself against a former world champion.
“But that’s also why I have respect for him. I believe he has the power and the right mentality to come for this fight.
“But yes he’s taking a risk fighting me. However, it’s a risk worth taking for him and I always respect the guys who take risks.”
There were good-natured scenes at Thursday’s press conference as the two competitors shared a hug at the face-off.
But Postol will dispense with the niceties when they meet again in the ring as he looks to step up his bid to regain his lost title.
This weekend’s showdown is a final eliminator for the belt he handed over to Crawford, which is now held by America’s Jose Ramirez following Crawford’s move up to welterweight, and the “Iceman” is insistent he will not let Taylor stand in his way.
He said: “My aim is to get back on top.
“The two years since the Crawford fight have been an awkward situation.
“I have barely had a fight since that defeat and it’s not been the most comfortable position to be in.
“But I’m still proud that I fought Crawford and took him the full distance. Since that fight, Crawford has moved up in weight and smashed all his opponents so losing was no disgrace.
“It’s hard to say how long I’ll fight on for but right now I have power and desire, so maybe another three or four years. But, if I want to achieve all the things I still have plans for in boxing, then it’s pivotal I win this fight.”