Boxing legend Barry McGuigan has hit back at outspoken promoter Clifton Mitchell for trying to unnerve Edinburgh boxer Josh Taylor ahead of tonight’s Commonwealth super-lightweight duel with Derby’s Dave Ryan at Meadowbank.
Cyclone promoter McGuigan, a former WBA featherweight champion, became incensed during Wednesday’s press conference as Ryan’s manager launched a scathing attack on Scotland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games light-welterweight champion.
However, McGuigan, who took Taylor, 25, under his wing last summer, says he wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the manner in which Mitchell chose to conduct himself in front of the gathered press.
“Mitchell wants to make himself angry so he can transfer that anger to his fighter because Ryan doesn’t say much,” the Irishman said.
“Mitchell is from the Brendan Ingle school, they tend to be mouthy and talk the fights up. So Mitchell knows what he’s doing, given his boxer is reticent, and he needs to get him annoyed and riled up.
“But I’m glad Josh didn’t react. In boxing you have to have a combination of self-confidence, discipline, vitriol and nastiness to be able to take the other guy apart without feeling bad about it, in addition to the other talents. That comes as standard. The rest is the icing on top, the skill and the ability to be able to make certain moves. But you have to have a calmness and [Carl]Frampton is a great example of that as the flag bearer for this company.
“This kid [Taylor] is going to outbox him [Ryan] and outpunch him and beat him in every department. This kid is very special.
“The guys he has fought didn’t come to fall over. I’ve seen what he’s done in the gym and more and more these days it’s what you do in the gym and what your international credentials are as an amateur that merits what you can say or boast about and I am absolutely convinced he will put on a display tonight.”
Taylor reached his amateur boxing peak when he won gold in Glasgow two years ago, eclipsing his achievements of 2010 in Delhi when, aged just 19, he brought home silver. Since teaming up with London-based Cyclone Promotions last year, Taylor has swept aside anyone who has dared to stand in his way, registering six consectuive knock-outs. And while McGuigan concedes Ryan is a talent in his own right, he says the Englishman will prove no match for his young prodigy.
“He will be far too good for him in every department,” he claimed. “Josh has got great punch placement and hits tremendously hard and is very fast on his feet. He’s been sparring 12 rounds with middleweights and light middleweights so going 12 rounds at super lightweight isn’t a problem. The only thing for me is the atmosphere and the experience of the occasion and not feeling nervous or overwhelmed by it because it’s all new to him.
“He’s incredibly talented and he can fight at close range, or long range or middle distance. But his unique selling point is middle to long range, although he is getting better fighting at close range. We’ve put him in a ring the size of a postage stamp and got guys to crowd him and put him under pressure so we’ve covered every base.
“I want Ryan to go half a dozen rounds, seven or eight even, because that will reinforce for me what I already know. But I’ll be surprised if he gets past eight.
“All Ryan is noted for is being tough and I think he will be. But he’s entering the lion’s den and although he will bring 150 with him, they’ll be lost in the atmosphere created by Josh’s fans.”