s in NXT, it was the best feeling of my car

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Two years ago, Viktor Postol was just another unassuming fighter trying to work his way to the top. And now look at him.He is widely considered one of the top two junior welterweights in the world and is heading into the biggest fight of his career, a title unification bout against the other best fighter in the division, Terence Crawford, on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.Postols growing reputation is based almost entirely on two big knockout wins -- but wins against quality opponents in fights that were televised on HBO and both were very impressive.First he drilled Selcuk Aydin, a longtime contender, in the 11th round in May 2014. That victory made him the mandatory challenger for then-world titleholder Danny Garcia, whose team put Postol off as long as it could. And then Garcia vacated the title and moved up in weight. That left Postol, who had stayed busy with a non-televised fight against a low-level opponent on a Garcia undercard, to fight for the vacant 140-pound belt.The mandatory opponent was Lucas Matthysse, a huge puncher and one of the most feared fighters in the division, although he had lost a competitive decision to Garcia in a 2013 title bout.Matthysse was the clear favorite to topple Postol and claim the title, but trainer Freddie Roach had Postol extremely well prepared and he fought masterfully when they met in October, winning by 10th-round knockout in a major upset.I was fighting for the title against one of the strongest punchers in the division, Postol said. The importance of this fight for my career and my life was not lost on me. It was all I thought about during training camp at Wild Card [Roachs gym in Hollywood, California]. Its all I ever wanted since I started boxing in a gym outside Kiev as a 12-year-old boy. I followed Freddies game plan from beginning to end. Even the last combination I landed -- right uppercut, left hook -- we worked on daily.Freddie Roach had me well prepared for that fight. My trainers made me a champion and helped me realize a dream I have had for a very long time. Every time I look at that green belt I will think of Freddie and everyone at Wild Card who helped me become a champion. I loved showing it off to all my friends, family members and fans in Ukraine. I am very proud to represent my country as a world champion.Following that victory, and with Garcia having left the weight class and Matthysse vanquished, Postol was clearly one of the best in the division, along with Crawford, the former lightweight champion from Omaha, Nebraska, who had moved up in weight and won a vacant 140-pound title 15 months ago.It was a very good performance, said Roach, who is going into his fourth bout as Postols trainer. We were in charge of the fight the whole time. Viktor followed the game plan perfectly. I remember before the last round I told our corner that Matthysse was very tired and ready to go out. 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 took him out when he was ready to take him out. He is a good student of the game.Viktor deserved that victory. Ive never had a fighter work harder in training camp than he did. I was so happy for him when the fight was stopped. I just knew that a lot of doors would be opening for him now that he was a world champion and because of how he won that fight. This was, really, one of the greatest wins of my career. ... But I think Viktors performance on [Saturday] will surpass that. We have a solid game plan for Crawford. We are going right at him from the opening bell. This is a real 50-50 fight. The best man will win and the loser will go back to Nebraska.But once again, Postol (28-0, 12 KOs), who will be making his first title defense, is the underdog as he and the 28-year-old Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs), the 2014 fighter of the year who will be making defense No. 3, get set to duke it out for division supremacy.But Postol, 32, is confident as is Roach, the Hall of Famer and seven-time trainer of the year. One of the reasons for Postols confidence is the presence of Roach, as respected a trainer as there is in boxing.I do not consider myself an underdog in this fight. Terence Crawfords fans might consider me as the underdog but that does not bother me, Postol said. Im 100 percent confident in myself and in my victory and the reasons are simple. I work harder in training camp than my opponents because I have to, because I want to. I have the best trainer working with me and his name his Freddie Roach. He has been named trainer of the year a record seven times and he is in the Hall of Fame.Crawford has no one like that on his team. Since I have been training with Freddie I have knocked out two of the three opponents I have faced -- Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin. Both were No. 2 world-rated contenders and both times I was considered the underdog. I have passed every test that I have taken as a professional fighter and with the best teacher in boxing working with me I intend to pass this one with flying colors. This victory will prove to everyone that I am the best fighter at 140 pounds and the king of the division.Postol also enters the fight with a big load off his mind. His wife, Olga, gave birth to their twin boys, Lukian and Timofey, on Tuesday in Ukraine. Postol said when the fight was announced that their impending arrival was big motivation for him because he wanted to bring home one title belt for each baby. Now that they are here, Postol said he has a sense of relief going into the fight.Roach has worked with a whos who of fighters during his career, most notably Manny Pacquiao. He has loved what he has seen from Postol since they hooked up before the Aydin fight and said he will take down another top opponent in Crawford.I do not feel that Viktor is an underdog going into this fight, Roach said. Why should I? In his two toughest tests -- Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin -- he didnt just knock them out, he took their will to fight away. He broke them down brick by brick. His experience against blue-chip opposition has been great preparation for his fight with Terence Crawford.Dont get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for Crawford. He has a lot of talent. But I think this is going to come down to resumes and I think Postol has fought tougher and better opponents than Crawford. Postol even spent an entire training camp with Manny Pacquiao in 2014 when Manny was preparing for Chris Algieri. Viktor more than held his own against Manny. Crawford is going to find out that defending a title against Hank Lundy and Dierry Jean is a lot different than fighting a fellow undefeated world champion like Viktor Postol. A win for Viktor will mean that the U.S. and the world has a new star in boxing. A star as bright as boxing has ever seen. Cheap San Diego Padres Jerseys .S. -- Nikolaj Ehlers registered a hat trick for the third straight game and Jonathan Drouin had a goal and five assists as the Halifax Mooseheads hammered the host Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 10-1 on Tuesday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Tony Gwynn Jersey . They hope to persuade the other team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to put pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to drop the nickname they find offensive. 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For any former amateur wrestler trying to make a name for themselves in WWE, it is hard to escape the huge shadow cast by Kurt Angle.An Olympic gold medallist in freestyle wrestling at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Angle transitioned to the world of professional wrestling in 1998, becoming a six-time WWE champion and a household name of the Attitude Era. He paved the way and has been the measuring stick ever since -- no one from the amateur ranks has come close to matching his accomplishments in a WWE ring.Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, the upstart Smackdown Live tag team duo known as American Alpha, could be the first WWE superstars to buck that trend.Kurts a huge inspiration, Jordan admitted to ESPN on a conference call to promote WWEs upcoming European Tour, with Raw and Smackdown heading to Glasgow, Scotland, in November.American Alpha is one of WWEs hottest tag team acts, having enjoyed a meteoric rise from Performance Center obscurity to capturing the NXT Tag Team Championships at Takeover: Dallas over Wrestlemania 32 weekend in April. Given the crowd reactions they received and the quality of matches they put on in WWEs developmental promotion, it was only a matter of time before they earned a call-up up to the main roster. And sure enough, they were duly drafted to Smackdown Live in July.Their amateur backgrounds --?Gable wrestled for the United States at the London 2012 Games, while Jordan attended Indiana University where he became a three-time national qualifier for NCAA at the Division I level -- have seen them draw not just favourable comparison to Angle, but also likened to his former proteges, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. That pair burst onto the WWE scene in 2002 as part of Team Angle and would later call themselves the Worlds Greatest Tag Team, with a gimmick centered around their amateur proficiency.Angle himself is a huge fan of Jordan and Gable. Having departed TNA Impact Wrestling in January, he talked up the possibility earlier this year of a return to WWE as a mentor to American Alpha.Im 47 years old. And thats why those guys would be perfect as my team, like a Team Angle, because they could do the wrestling for me until the big one comes, he said?in March. Ive watched them wrestle and theyre really good. I could do the big matches; the SummerSlams and the WrestleManias. I think that would be a good mix. And it would also give them a great rub, a rub that they need.But Jordan insists he and Gable are intent on forging their own path.I grew up watching Kurt and so Ive studied him a lot and figured out what it is that made him so great, what made him so amazing to watch, Jordan told ESPN. So trying to make sure that I picked up some of those things, but at the same time being myself, because I never wanna try and mimic somebody else. I wanna be myself and be the first Jason Jordan. I dont wanna be the second Kurt Angle.And its the same concept where we always get a lot of comparisons to the Worlds Greatest Tag Team. We wanna be the first American Alpha. We dont wanna be the second Team Angle or Worlds Greatest Tag Team. Weve worked so hard to get to where we are, and we feel like were unique and different. Yes there are similarities but were still different. As much as we look to Kurt, and as much as Ive studied him and been a fan of Kurt Angles, hes been an influence, but its nice to have a little bit of a separation between us.Jordan and Gable are primed for success in Smackdowns tag team division, but it was only fewer than 18 months ago that both were floundering in NXT with no direction. For Jordan, a tag team with Tye Dillinger had failed to catch fire at Full Sail University. They were split up in February of 2015 and both had to go back to the drawing board at the Performance Center again.?It was nothing new for Jordan, who had been with WWE?since 2011 at their former developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling. He addmitted it crossed his mind in the past that he might never make it.ddddddddddddThere was definitely the thought, said the 28-year-old. I was always confident in my ability, I was always confident in the talent that I had, and I felt WWE was a very good fit for me. After it didnt happen for a couple of years and I had a knee surgery and everything, there were times I had doubts. Not that it wasnt gonna happen, just that maybe it wasnt the right time and maybe I had to take a step back and really find myself before I can move forward and be successful in WWE.But just trying different things and really searching to be myself and be comfortable with who I am and letting the world into my background, and whats gotten me here to this point, that removed all doubt. When I started tagging with Chad Gable, we knew it right away that there was something special here between us. We had this chemistry, and that really allowed me to bring out my personality and be who I am and let everybody see what I have to offer, and that allowed me to bring myself to a whole other level. From that point I feel its been skys the limit.Its been an incredible ride and a lot of fun. It helped me move past that point of having any doubt. Its a struggle, extremely difficult. This is the place to be. Everybody wants to get to there from NXT. Everybody is hungry and chomping at the bit and trying to figure it out. Its very possible you can get lost in the shuffle. I feel like maybe for a little while I was at that point where I was kinda getting not necessarily overlooked, but in the mix, among the middle of pack. Now I feel like I definitely rose to the top there. Its been a pleasure and its been a journey, but I wouldnt trade that for anything in the world.Jordan has endured plenty of personal struggle in his life; he revealed on the WWE Networks Performance Center-based documentary series Breaking Ground last year that all three of his older brothers have been incarcerated.I was always close with them, had ups and downs with them, Jordan said. But theres a brother-like relationship with me and Chad. Its definitely something special and Im glad to be a part of it. Its pretty obvious to see -- a lot of people see that. Its not like, lets see where it goes. Were dedicated to staying together and making sure, when you look at WWE history, that we want to be ones that stand out; that this tag team American Alpha, they are arguably the best tag team, period. In order to do that you have to have that legacy. Were building that legacy now. Were looking forward to continue building on it. Long story short, we plan on staying together for a very, very long time.Jordan put attending dental school on hold after graduating college, in order to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler, and admitted winning the NXT tag team titles was just reward for all of his hard work and sacrifice.?That was an amazing feeling. So many times throughout my life that Ive worked so hard for a thing, then been so close to achieving the goals that Ive set, and fallen short sometimes, he said. To have people constantly telling me, Dont worry, hard work pays off, hard work pays off -- you hear it, and you wanna see the results, so that you can truly believe them.And that was just literally everything coming together where it was, You know what? Everybody was right. Im so happy that I didnt get lazy, that I didnt get complacent, and I continued to put in the effort, continued to put in the hard work, and tried to make sure that no matter what happened, at least I can walk away saying that I gave it my all.But for everything to finally work out, to achieve our goal and achieve our dream, and to win the tag team championships in NXT, it was the best feeling of my career to that point. 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