SCOT­TISH STAR

Tay­lor con­tin­ues to live up to the hype by stop­ping Martin, writes Ron­nie Es­plin

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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.

Pho­tos: AC­TION IMAGES/LEE SMITH

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.

Pho­tos: AC­TION IMAGES/LEE SMITH

BOX­ING WELL: Bur­nett [right] matches Don­aire

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