Cyclone Promotions boss Barry McGuigan believes Josh Taylor will have his work cut out when he makes the first defence of his Commonwealth super-lightweight title against South African Warren Joubert at Meadowbank next month.
The Prestonpans fighter is bracing himself for his toughest test since joining the paid ranks when he goes glove-to-glove with the vastly-experienced and current South African champion at the Capital venue on Friday, March 24 – a contest that will be broadcast live by Channel 5.
Next month’s bout, however, will be the first time Joubert (26-4-5) has fought outwith his homeland.
Taylor, 26, will be seeking his ninth consecutive victory and has fond memories from his last outing at Meadowbank when he clinched the vacant Commonwealth title with a fifth-round stoppage over Derby’s Dave Ryan in October.
But, in 35-year-old Joubert, former WBA world featherweight champion McGuigan, inset, believes they have been able to entice one of the best this time around. “This is one tough kid that’s coming over. He’s very experienced, he comes to fight and that will give the audience value for money,” McGuigan explained. “This fight pits Taylor’s youth and improving skills against Joubert’s experience and ringcraft. Joubert was one of the Commonwealth Boxing Council’s selected contenders and we know that he will provide Josh with a stern test that’s for sure.”
Taylor continued his rise up boxing’s world rankings last month with an unanimous eight-round points win over Mexican, Alfonso Olvera, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – the first time the Scot has been taken the distance as a professional. But McGuigan revealed he was more than happy to see his young fighter finally put through his paces.
“I wanted him to go the distance as we needed someone lively to be firing back at him,” McGuigan said. “He [Olvera] never gave up and although Josh had him going twice, he wasn’t able to go up one or two gears like he normally does. I thought Josh was very good. It was an education and he had a lot of pressure on him as he knew he was the first guy on Showtime Extreme. That is big pressure for him to handle. But he’s done it and he’ll be better for the experience.
“The Americans really love Josh. They keep comparing him to [Ken] Buchanan. He has fought out there three times now but ultimately his audience is here back home in Edinburgh. I want big audiences to turn out for him. I don’t want to pigeonhole him though as I want him to be a Scottish star. He’s very proud of where he comes from and talks about fighting for the world title at Edinburgh Castle one day and that would be a dream of his in the future.”
Taylor returned to his London base in Battersea after yesterday’s press conference to continue his preparations with trainer Shane McGuigan. He said: “Joubert’s got a good record but I don’t know much about him. I know he likes to come forward so it’s got the makings of an exciting bout. I absolutely loved it at Meadowbank last time when I beat Dave Ryan. It was probably the best experience I have had in my boxing career. The atmosphere was just incredible. I’ve watched the whole thing back again several times, not just the fight but everything about the fight so I’m hoping for more of the same.”
Craigmillar’s Celtic super-lightweight champion Jason Easton will defend his title on the undercard against Zoltan Szabo (14-4) of Hungary.
• Tickets are on sale now from ticketmaster.co.uk or cyclonepromotions.com and are priced at £40, £60 and £100 (VIP).