Scots boxer Josh Taylor hails deal with Barry McGuigan

New Commonwealth super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor says his decision to sign with Cyclone promoter and boxing legend Barry McGuigan was vindicated at Meadowbank on Friday night.

Josh Taylor celebrates lifting the Commonwealth belt after beating Dave Ryan. Photograph: Ian Rutherford
Josh Taylor celebrates lifting the Commonwealth belt after beating Dave Ryan. Photograph: Ian Rutherford

The Edinburgh fighter made short work of former Commonwealth champion Dave Ryan, forcing a fifth-round stoppage to land his first professional title since making the switch to the paid ranks last summer.

The 25-year-old Prestonpans boxer wasn’t short of admirers having won Commonwealth gold in Glasgow in 2014 and, after being inundated with offers from professional promoters vying for his signature, Taylor opted to sign with the former WBA featherweight champion.

“I knew from the day I signed with Barry I could go to the top. I know I’m at the that level already,” Taylor revealed. “I just had to get past the pressure of it being so early in my career. I know Barry has said I am going to be the next best thing since Ken Buchanan but I just take that with a pinch of salt.

“I feel on cloud nine. I didn’t feel any danger at all. I knew after the first round I could see all his shots coming. I knew I was able to get my jab off, my one-twos so the game-plan worked perfectly. We had the perfect tactics. It’s definitely the best and sweetest victory of my boxing career so far. I think I am the first British fighter to win the Commonwealth title so soon after doing it as an amateur so I am as proud as punch over that one.”

However, there doesn’t appear to be much respite on the cards.

“I’m hoping to be out again at Wembley Arena next month on George Groves’ bill,” he said. “I’ll be taking a week off to have a bit of a rest before getting back into the gym. It is quite soon to be fighting again but I’ll see how I feel and what the team thinks is best for me. But I’ll be raring to go if that’s the case.”

McGuigan himself was blown away by the Scot’s sheer power against such a seasoned pro.

“We knew we could hit the ground running with Josh”, the Irishman said. “He’s so naturally talented. He’s a tremendous puncher but he didn’t hit Ryan clean once on Friday night. But his body shots are great, his selection is terrific and you could see as the rounds wore on he was becoming more relaxed. He needed rounds to get that. I’ve said all along he’s a wonderful talent.

“The audience is building over here. I’ve always wanted to bring through young and special talent.”