VIKTOR ‘the Iceman’ Postol picks his way through the lunchtime St Enoch Centre crowd as carefully and cautiously as he selects his shot in the boxing ring. This 34-year-old from Ukraine, who resembles a mini Wladimir Klitschko, has seen most things in his 11 years as a pro fighter but the random assortment of Glaswegian shoppers, browsers, diners and boxing devotees spilling out from the shopping mall and food court must require some acclimatisation.

Soon followed on-court by home favourite Josh Taylor, this public work-out is the first fight week set piece ahead of this Saturday’s showdown at the SSE Hydro, an occasion which already has the look of being one of the fights of the year. There might not be a world title up for grabs but that is an accident more than anything. Postol is a former WBC champ intent on retaining his belt now that the only man who has ever beaten him, the outstanding Terence Crawford, has triumphantly moved up a weight class after unifying the division. And that puts him directly in the path of the ‘Tartan Tornado’ Taylor, the self-styled Pride of Prestonpans and 2014 Commonwealth gold medallist who now has 12 wins from his 12 fights to date, all but one of them by way of knockout. The No 1 and the No 2-ranked contenders in the WBC rankings, the winner will be guaranteed a crack at WBC champion Jose Ramirez of the USA, most likely a money-spinning affair at one of the most vaunted venues in boxing.

As ever with this sport, though, things could be rather more complicated than that. Regis Prograis, the American who holds the WBC interim belt, went on record recently as being convinced that Taylor would join him, WBA Champion Kiryl Relikh and others in a World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) knockout tournament instead this summer, especially if Ramirez’s promoters play hard to get. But Taylor’s manager Barry McGuigan is adamant a WBC world title shot with Ramirez is the big goal here, assuming his man can get past Postol first. This, it should be re-stated, is no mean feat.

“There has been all sorts of talk and all sorts of allegations, all sorts of rumours,” said McGuigan. “But we want to fight for the WBC title - that is what we are here for. This is the final hurdle, we get over this and we have a shot at it. That is what is on our mind, nothing more, nothing less. And Saturday night is what that is all about. It [the WBC] is a great title, let’s be honest about it. To be honest Jose Ramirez is a great fighter and that would be a great fight for Josh. That’s something we are looking for, but it is all about Saturday.”

Taylor and his camp know well enough that Postol is worthy of their undivided attention. This is only a light run-through from the 34-year-old, some skipping and then some light work on the pads, but the Ukrainian looks lean and mean. A consummate professional in flawless condition, he has been on camp both back home in Ukraine and at Freddie Roach’s gym in Las Vegas. “I lost my title to the best fighter in the world and now my aim is to win it back,” this smiling assassin says, his corner man translating into flawless English.

Hyperbole is part of boxing, but you need only look at how intently his Scottish opponent, clad in a silver camouflage top, focuses on his every move to see how much jeopardy is involved in this fight. This gathering may not do him justice but Taylor has the look of the next Scottish fighting great in waiting, boasting agility, speed of thought, movement and heavy-handed with it. He too appears in the best shape of his life. As much as Crawford out-boxed him at points during that 2016 contest, even he couldn’t get Postol out of there before the final bell, but both he and McGuigan are convinced he can be the first man to knock the Ukrainian out.

“It was good to get a look at Postol because, a month out, he was only seven pounds over the weight,” said McGuigan, who is happy with ticket sales for the fight, which will be screened on Channel 5, although a limited number remain available.. “This guy is a consummate professional who walks around at the weight, a genuine 140-pounder. So he’s in shape, relaxed, completely non-plussed with it all. He is the opposite of O’Hara Davies. His style and technique has caused us a bit of an issue, because you don’t get many pros who fight like him. So we’ve had to go back to some good quality amateurs who stand upright, move in and out. Then we’ve chucked in bigger, stronger guys at the end.

“This guy is quality. Thirty fights, 29 wins, nobody has ever stopped him – not even the great Terence Crawford. But I honestly believe these are the risks you have to take to excite the boxing world. Josh is a big time fighter, a pressure fighter who likes the big occasion. The more the pressure is on, the better he fights. He needs to be in great shape for this guy and he is in great shape. He will also have to be focused from the very first bell to the last bell.”

“Can he stop Postol? There is every likelihood he can. But he has to hit him clean first – and he’s not the easiest guy to hit clean. He’s got good feet, good hands and hits very accurately. Although his record doesn’t suggest it, he’s actually a very dangerous puncher because he places his shots well. No matter where you move your head, he hits something.”