Cyclone Promotions manager Barry McGuigan’s assertion this weekend that Josh Taylor is one of the best fighters in the world is expected to raise a few eyebrows.
When you consider some of the sport’s household names like Anthony Joshua, American Terence Crawford and Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan, for example, are all multiple world champions in their own right, that’s quite a statement from the boxing legend.
But who out there is currently more on top of their game in the super-lightweight division than the Prestonpans puncher? That is the million dollar question facing McGuigan and his son Shane, Taylor’s trainer.
More to the point, who is brave enough to step into the ring with the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist? Taylor is tearing up the 140lb division at an exhausting rate.
This might become slightly clearer later this month when American duo Amir Imam and Jose Carlos Ramirez go head-to-head at Madison Square Garden in New York with McGuigan revealing Taylor is on course to face the winner in a world-title eliminator in Glasgow on Saturday, June 9.
“Josh is one of the best fighters in the world, not just in the super-lightweight division but any division,” McGuigan said after Taylor’s third-round stoppage of Winston Campos on Saturday night when he defended his WBC silver belt. “The super-lightweight division is red hot at the moment but he’s the hottest thing in it. We’re now very close to something really exciting. He’s very special. I am accused of being biased but I said at the very beginning how much talent this kid has. They all said he could punch as an amateur, well, how silly do those people look now?
“We’ll see how Imam and Ramirez get on in two weeks and I think we’d like to see Josh fight the winner in a world-title eliminator in June.”
In truth, his opponent at the SSE Hydro, Winston Campos, who was a last-minute opponent switch for the injured Humberto Soto, didn’t stand a chance in toppling the Tartan Tornado despite him suggesting otherwise in the pre-fight build-up.
Campos, two years Taylor’s junior, did outdo the Scot in terms of experience having amassed 30 wins as a paid fighter since 2010. But that was little comfort for the Central American who looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights when up against the poster boy of Scottish boxing.
A combination of skill and energy was enough to win the fight itself. Throw into the mix the precision of his Taylor’s shots and referee Victor Loughlin had no choice but to stop the contest in the third round with Campos having already been dropped to the canvas twice.
“He’s fast, controlled, intelligent. He is one of the most exciting talents in world boxing,” McGuigan continued. “And he’s only getting better. He’s filling out a lot more and improving all the time under Shane. I genuinely believe he will win the world super-lightweight title and then move up to welterweight. But it’s just about taking one fight at a time.
“He’s wanting to fight Mikey Garcia but he is probably the most dangerous boxer in the world at the moment. But that’s what Josh is like. He will match himself against anyone and he would genuinely like that fight.”
Taylor himself was more than satisfied with what proved to be a relatively straightforward night’s work.
“I was pretty happy with my performance,” Taylor said. “It was a bit of a nightmare with the late change in opponent but I just had to revert back to my amateur days when I didn’t know who I was facing until the day before. I found my range pretty early and once I got settled in I had him sussed out. It was only going one way.”