Taylor continues to live up to the hype by stopping Martin, writes Ronnie Esplin
Can anyone stop Josh Taylor from securing WBSS glory at 140lbs?
‘I WAS VERY CALM AND POISED. I WAS JUST LETTING IT FLOW’
THE World Boxing Super Series bandwagon rolled into the SSE Hydro and, in assured style,
Josh Taylor made sure he had booked his place on it by the time it left.
This exciting eight-fighter tournament format, in its second series, has got the world of boxing talking, but the 27-yearold super-lightweight from Prestonpans made sure they stopped to listen with a seventhround stoppage of Ryan Martin in their quarterfinal clash. The 25-yearold from Cleveland, Ohio had arrived in Glasgow unbeaten in 22 bouts and with a growing reputation, but he failed to trouble the Scot, who had the fight under control from the first bell.
It wasn’t an explosive display by Taylor, more methodical and concentrated, but as the rounds went on his opponent appeared increasingly cowed, despite claiming beforehand that he would thrive in front of a raucous crowd.
Taylor displayed a ferocity when he delivered a couple of powerful blows to the body and head to leave Martin in a heap, forcing referee Victor Loughlin to step in after 2-21 of the seventh to prevent further punishment, which was surely coming the American’s way.
It was a demonstration of increasing maturity as “The Tartan Tornado”
extended his unbeaten record to 14-0. In his assessment of his performance, he said: “I thought I was very calm and poised. I felt very accomplished in there. I wasn’t trying, I was just letting it flow.”
These are exciting times for southpaw Taylor, who, in a sport where many talk the talk, continues to walk the walk.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner will take on recently crowned IBF super-lightweight champion Ivan Baranchyk in the WBSS semi-final, probably in February or March, and he is supremely confident of taking his belt on the way to winning the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy. WBC 140lb titlist Jose Ramirez remains on the horizon, too.
“I am ready for this next fight,” said Taylor. “This is me just getting started. I am 100 per cent confident and I don’t think there is anyone who is going to stop me.
“I thought it would have been tougher. I never got out of second gear. I felt I had a lot more to come. I probably could have got him out earlier if I’d really put my foot on the gas. I felt I didn’t need to. I was boxing nicely and didn’t need to rush. I was absolutely delighted with the performance.”
Baranchyk looked impressive in his quarter-final victory over Anthony Yigit last month when he pounded the Swedish fighter’s eye to the point where the ringside doctor ordered a stoppage after the seventh round.
Taylor, whose body shots against Martin were textbook and punishing, is confident of outsmarting the powerful Belarusian. He said: “I’ve seen snippets of the Yigit fight and Baranchyk looked very strong and explosive. But I won’t let him get close to me like that, to use his strength. If I perform like I did against Martin, there is nobody in this division who is going to beat me. I am coming into my prime and I don’t think anyone is going to stop me.”
Taylor was pleased that he had impressed Kalle Sauerland, the promoter behind the World Boxing Super Series.
“I knew he was good,” said Sauerland, “but I didn’t realise he was that good. Josh has sent out a strong message across the pond, that’s for sure. I’m sure there will be a few trainers and boxers looking at that performance and wondering what the heck they can do to stop him.”
Taylor’s manager, Barry Mcguigan, has been talking up his fighter since he
joined Cyclone Promotions in June 2015 – a month before his first professional fight and win against Archie Weah on the undercard of Carl Frampton against Alejandro Gonzalez Jnr. Mcguigan acknowledged how difficult it will be for Taylor to capture the Ali trophy, but his belief in the Scotsman remains unshakeable.
Mcguigan said, “It’s not going to be easy but he’s going to win the tournament. He’s the best 140-pounder in the world and I’ve always said that.”
A freak injury scuppered the chances of Ryan Burnett progressing to the WBSS semi-finals at bantamweight. The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland was forced to retire from his quarterfinal with four-weight world champion
Nonito Donaire after suffering a suspected slipped disc in the fourth round, thus losing his WBA title.
The early rounds saw the best of both Burnett and 35-year-old California-based Filipino Donaire. The Belfast boxer had gone into the contest with a perfect 19-0 record, but the alarm bells rang when he took a knee and a count of ‘seven’ from referee Howard Foster in the fourth after sustaining the injury.
Burnett was in some distress as returned to his corner at the end of the round, and after retiring on his stool, he was stretchered out of the ring while on oxygen.
The classy Donaire, who will take on WBO bantam belt-holder Zolani Tete in the semi-finals in early 2019, was magnanimous in victory. He said, “I am very grateful and very happy to see where I can be in this division.”
won the vacant British super-middleweight title fight with Darryll
Williams on a perplexing split decision following 12 tough rounds. The unbeaten Woodville fighter got the nod from judges Loughlin and Steve Gray by 117-112 and 115-114 respectively. Ian John-lewis had it 115-113 to Forest Hill’s Williams, who lost for the first time as a pro. Terry O’connor refereed.
Former WBC super-lightweight champion Viktor Postol, who was beaten by Taylor in June, was a reserve for the Scot’s WBSS fight against Martin, and the Ukrainian proved too good for Hackney-based Turk Siar Ozgul. Referee Kenny Pringle scored it 99-91 to the Los Angeles-based “Iceman”. Paul Butler – a reserve for the Burnett-donaire bout – got back on the winning track with a convincing points victory over Yoan Boyeaux. The Ellesmere Port man lost to Emmanuel Rodriguez in an attempt to regain the IBF bantamweight title in May, but on his ring return he outclassed Frenchman Boyeaux, with referee Pringle calling it 99-91. Thornley super-lightweight Darren Surtees stopped Coventry’s Troy James in the opener (set for six), with Darren Maxwell officiating. Newtongrange super-featherweight
Stephen Tiffney outpointed Mexican Arturo Lopez
58-55 over six, while Greenrigg super-welter southpaw Kieran Smith finished off Slovakian Pavol Garaj inside a round (scheduled for six). Michael Mcgurk, a superwelterweight from Uddingston, earned a six-round points win over Nicaragua’s Miguel Aguilar.
BREAKING THROUGH: Taylor sends his jab through Martin’s guard
BODY OF WORK: Taylor targets the body well
KING OF SCOTLAND: Taylor celebrates at the Hydro
ONE-SIDED: Martin catches Taylor occasionally [below] but the Scotsman is in control [bottom]
AGONY: Burnett collapses to his knees with an injured backTHE VERDICT Taylor looks to be a world champion-in-waiting.
BOXING WELL: Burnett [right] matches Donaire