Josh Taylor may have fought little more than 12 minutes of competitive boxing in his professional career but Cyclone promoter Barry McGuigan believes he will show the nation just what he is made of in October.
The former WBA featherweight champion and his team announced at the Scotsman Hotel yesterday that the Edinburgh fighter will contest the vacant Commonwealth super lightweight title against Derby’s Dave Ryan at Meadowbank on Friday, 21 October with the duel also being broadcast exclusively live on Channel 5. The Scot, 25, has been in pristine form during his 13 months in the paid ranks, notching up six consecutive knockouts, with all six coming before the end of the second round.
Taylor’s opponent, who is eight years his senior and has held the belt before relinquishing the title to compatriot John Wayne Hibbert in December, said at yesterday’s press conference this it is a match-up that has come way too soon for the 2014 Commonwealth Games medallist.
But McGuigan, who himself was involved in some pretty early finishes during his stellar eight-year career, is confident his man has the beating of a boxer who overcame current British super lightweight champion Tyrone Nurse two years ago.
“They are making a major mistake saying they will take out Josh easy and deep down, his team knows that,” McGuigan said. “But that’s fine and if he genuinely believes then so be it. He [Ryan] is a really tough kid and I have great respect for him and we’re paying a lot of money to get him up here.
“I am fully aware Josh hasn’t gone more than two rounds in each of his previous fights, which is a bit of a worry for anybody, including me, but the bottom line is I judge his pedigree on what he does in the gym. I see what he does, I see him sparring ten rounds against big light middleweight guys so I’m not worried about what he can do against a super lightweight.
“I’m not worried about what they’re saying and in fact the more he talks the better. I’m happy with that. This guy is the Real McCoy. Josh can’t be tested by journeymen because he blows them all away so how do I see what his pedigree is? By what he does in the gym.”
“Looking back at my own career, I had an 85 per cent knock-out rate but sparred about 150 rounds for each fight but some of those fights didn’t last two rounds sometimes,” McGuigan continued. “I didn’t need to know I could go the distance. The first time I ever went flat out for ten rounds was against [Juan] Laporte, my 26th fight, but I knew I had it in the tank and so does Josh.
“Channel 5 are going mad about this one and they’re very excited about coming to Edinburgh to showcase Josh. Meadowbank is going to be full and Ryan will have never have heard the atmosphere that Josh can generate. We saw that when we were here last year when he beat [Adam] Mate.
“I’ve had it for several years now with [Carl] Frampton, it’s exactly the same. There’s something about the Celts when they get behind their fighters and it’s going to be terrifying for Ryan.
“But more than anything else is when Josh hits him not once, but hundreds of times in the first couple of rounds, that’s when he’s going to realise, ‘Jesus Christ this guy is very special’.”