Talking Boxing

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Taylor-made for success

Josh Taylor celebrates winning his first professional title


Josh Taylor (7-0, 7 KOs) emerged from a cacophony of patriotic noise last night in Edinburgh as Scotland’s next boxing superstar.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist was given the opportunity to sink or swim in only his seventh professional fight against Dave Ryan (17-10, 4 KOs) inside the Meadowbank Sports Centre.

The vacant Commonwealth super lightweight title was up for grabs, and the way that Taylor broke Ryan down, one of boxing’s men of steel, was a glimpse into a promising future for his fans and his team at Cyclone Promotions.

Hand speed, patience and body shots were three keys to Taylor’s triumph which came in the fifth round, the first time Taylor had ever been such a distance as a pro, after Ryan succumbed to an accumulation of body shots. A right hook dropped Ryan before an onslaught filled with devilment forced referee Michael Alexander to end the contest.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” a jubilant Taylor told the media in the post-fight press conference.

“It’s only my seventh fight. It’s only two years on from the Commonwealth Gold medal. I feel brilliant. I was expected to win it, everyone was wanting me to win it and Barry was hyping it up. I felt a wee bit of pressure, but I just soaked it all in and enjoyed every minute of it.

“I got the result. I knew I could do it so it’s just good to finally get it done and get that belt around my waist.”

Taylor’s first domestic title success was witnessed by some of his gym-mates including George Groves and Carl Frampton, with the Northern Irishman vocal from ringside roaring on his friend and team-mate.

Taylor was dominant for the most part, but there were moments when it looked like Ryan – one of the sport’s most durable and toughest fighters – would be there for the long haul. He took what Taylor had to offer including a left hand which dropped him in round three. This coming after Ryan had arguably his best round of the fight in the session beforehand

“The plan was to just start off nice and slow. Start off with single shots, get the jab going and start hitting him to the body early to slow him down, and take the strength away. I knew he was strong, and the plan worked perfectly,” Taylor said.

“I don’t feel like I took any big shots. I covered up to see what he had, but I didn’t feel in any danger at all. I knew straight after the first round I could see all the shots coming. I was going to be able to get my timing off, my jab off and my one-twos off, and the gameplan worked perfectly. We had it down to a tee. Shane had the perfect tactics so it worked brilliant.”

Taylor’s trainer, Shane McGuigan, was satisfied with his fighter’s performance and believes that his domestic rivals at 140lbs would be no match for his man.

“He [Taylor] didn’t lose a round, he just took him [Ryan] out of there and we’ve always known he’s got that capability. When we let him off the hook he’ll blow all these domestic guys out of the water. We have to be selective of his opponents. I don’t think he’s going to get tested until he’s at world level, but I was very happy with performance.”

Barry McGuigan was equally delighted with the display from ‘The Tartan Tornado’ and has one eye on Scottish boxing’s top dog in the near future.

“I got a wrap over the knuckles there from Shane saying ‘Don’t be saying things outrageous about going and fighting Ricky Burns’. Obviously he’s the target.

“He’s the one we’re looking at. He’s the (WBA) world super-lightweight champion. It couldn’t be a better set of circumstances. With the greatest respect in the world to Ricky, he’s a great fighter [but] I don’t think he’s the fighter he was. I think he’s fading a little bit, and this kid is making unbelievable improvements.”

Cyclone Promotions promoter Blane McGuigan said that the plan is to have Josh fight in Glasgow in the near future. Taylor may be back out as soon as four weeks on the undercard of the George Groves-Eduard Gutknecht show in London. A decision on this will be made once Taylor has a rest and returns to the gym the week after next.

“Ken [Buchanan] was here tonight, thrilled to have him here and looking well. Him and [Jim] Watt had the Edinburgh and Glasgow divide. We don’t want that,” said Barry McGuigan.

“We want this kid to be recognised as a Scottish champion and someone who’s adored everywhere.”