Edinburgh boxer Josh Taylor has never been short of compliments being put his way. But that expectation has just been cranked up a notch by two-weight division world champion and stable-mate Carl Frampton, who has described Taylor as a “Scottish Manny Pacquiao”.
Belfast-born Frampton is a huge admirer of the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, having watched first hand the 25-year-old Scot flourish in his first year as a paid fighter since signing on the dotted line with promoter Barry McGuigan last summer.
Taylor has, quite literally, blown his opponents into oblivion, registering six knock-outs from as many bouts. He is, however, expecting his toughest challenge at Meadowbank in just more than two weeks when he faces Derby’s Dave Ryan on Friday, October 21 for a duel for the Commonwealth super lightweight title.
The contest, which will be broadcast exclusively live on Channel 5, is set to afford Taylor nationwide exposure that, Frampton believes, will finally make people see what the fuss is all about.
“I have a reputation so I don’t want to say things I don’t really mean. This kid, I’m not kidding, will be the next big British star and he’ll take over from the likes of Ricky Burns. Without being disrespectful to Ricky, Josh’s style is more pleasing on the eye. He’s like a Scottish version of Manny Pacquiao,” Frampton said in an exclusive interview with the Evening News.
“I’m glad he’s getting the exposure on Channel 5. He’s been boxing on these undercards that haven’t been televised so people will now sit up and take notice. This is the sort of fight not just novices but seasoned professionals would love to be involved in, a live fight on terrestrial TV. Every boxer in the UK is craving that, I don’t care who you are.
“It’s a working class sport. Anthony Joshua is making an absolute fortune on Sky Box Office but you still want to be seen on terrestrial TV and anyone who says different is telling lies. So with Josh getting the chance to do this so early, this is going to be great for his career.”
Whilst acknowledging Taylor is one of British boxing’s finest prospects, Ryan’s camp were quick to write off the Scot at August’s official press conference when the fight was announced. But Frampton, who will be part of Channel 5’s commentary team at the Capital venue two weeks tomorrow, says this is simply an attempt to unnerve the Prestonpans star.
“They’re trying to rattle Josh’s cage,” he explained. “They may believe that. But the difference between myself, and Barry and Shane [McGuigan] and Dave Ryan’s team is that we see him in the gym and he’s beaten up big guys. His speed is something else. He’s a light-welterweight but he has the speed of a light-flyweight. Dave Ryan is a tough guy but I think Josh is going to cut him to bits. I think his corner might even pull him out at some point.
“Josh will be Dave Ryan’s toughest opponent yet. There’s different levels in this game and he is a couple of levels below Taylor.
“What Josh has been doing so far in his professional career, he boxed his debut in El Paso (Texas) and a lot of guys wouldn’t be fighting on a card or an opponent [Archie Weah] like he did until their tenth fight and he even then he blew him away.
“The guys he has fought have all come to win but Taylor has just blown them away. It’s all to do with his sparring, I saw him spar Argenis Mendez whilst we were in New York and it was one of the best I’ve ever seen. That’s the sort of level Josh can perform at.”
Frampton is now one of the sport’s most decorated fighters having become WBA world super-featherweight champion in July with victory over Leo Santa Cruz in New York. The 29-year-old also holds the IBF world super-bantamweight belt having defeated Scott Quigg in February. That said, he still has fond memories of winning his first Commonwealth title in Belfast five years ago.
“I was starting to get a name for myself at that point but it certainly felt like a major title when I fought Mark Quon,” he said. “It kept me in line before going on to bigger and better things and this will do for Josh. For the people who don’t know about Josh now, they’re about to find out.
“Josh has had that situation of being on TV before when he was fighting in the Commonwealth Games so there was pressure on him there but he came through.”
• Tickets for this fantastic evening of championship boxing at the Meadowbank Arena in Edinburgh on Friday, October 21, are now on sale from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and are priced £40, £60 and £100 VIP. For VIP packages please contact firstname.lastname@example.org