Barry McGuigan tips Josh Taylor to win world title
On the back of his latest victory over Winston Campos on Saturday night, the Scot making a second successful defence of his WBC Silver super lightweight title, one journalist took the opportunity to ask the 27-year-old how he makes the professional ranks look so easy.
Fresh-faced Taylor, sat deep within the bowels of the SSE Hydro and flanked by Cyclone Promotions manager Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane, McGuigan’s son, said with a wry smile: “Because I’m just so damn good!”
His response was, as expected, taken in jest, but that didn’t stop those who had gathered nodding in agreement with the Edinburgh fighter’s humour.
“I was pretty happy with my performance,” Taylor said after his third-round stoppage over his Nicaraguan rival, who had stepped in at the last minute to replace the injured Humberto Soto. “It was a bit of a nightmare with the late change in opponent but I just had to revert back to my amateur days when I didn’t know who I was facing until the day before. I found my range pretty early and, once I got settled in, I had him sussed out. It was only going one way.”
Former WBA featherweight champion McGuigan has never been one to shirk the opportunity to shower the 2014 Commonwealth medallist with praise. However, Taylor’s latest victory, the 12th of his professional career, has now moved him to within touching distance of a maiden shot of his first world title. “Josh is one of the best fighters in the world, not just in the super lightweight division but any division,” McGuigan said.
“The super lightweight division is red hot at the moment but he’s the hottest thing in it. We’re now very close to something really exciting. He’s very special. I am accused of being biased but I said at the very beginning how much talent this kid has. They all said he couldn’t punch as an amateur – well how silly do those people look now?
“We’ll see how [Amir] Imam and [Jose Carlos] Ramirez get on in two weeks in New York and I think we’d like to see Josh fight the winner in a world-title eliminator back here in Glasgow in June. He’s fast, controlled, intelligent – he really is one of the most exciting talents in world boxing.”
McGuigan, pictured right, continued: “And he’s only getting better. He’s filling out a lot more and improving all the time under Shane. I genuinely believe he will win the world super lightweight title and then move up to welterweight. But it’s just about taking one fight at a time.
“He’s wanting to fight Mikey Garcia but he is probably the most dangerous boxer in the world at the moment. But that’s what Josh is like. He will match himself against anyone and he would genuinely like that fight.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Jason Easton suffered the first defeat of his professional career as he was stopped late in the 11th round by Englishman Glenn Foot.
However, there was greater concern over the IBO Intercontinental and Celtic super lightweight champion’s health after ringside paramedics rushed to assist Easton, who lay stricken on the canvas. After receiving some oxygen, the 26-year-old was able to return to his feet but was inconsolable as he left the arena. Easton spent Saturday night in hospital under observation but was released yesterday. Easton was never in the contest and looked a fraction of the boxer who had reeled off 11 straight wins. Foot’s celebrations were scaled down given the way the contest ended but he is the new Commonwealth champion.
Easton said afterwards: “I’m doing fine. I had a CT scan and everything came back okay. I’m devastated how the fight went. I was nowhere near my best but I will bounce back.”
There was a third straight win by knockout for the capital’s Lee McGregor, while Charlie Flynn’s Celtic Lightweight duel with Ryan Collins was declared a technical draw after a clash of heads in the third round. Marc Kerr defeated Iain Trotter to become the new Scottish middleweight champion.