Four-time world super middleweight champion Carl Froch singled out praise for Prestonpans boxer Josh Taylor in Saturday night’s defeat of Frenchman Lyes Chaibi at the Manchester Arena.
Working as a pundit for Sky Sports Box Office as Belfast’s Carl Frampton defeated Scott Quigg by a split decision to be crowned IBF and WBA world super bantamweight champion, Froch, who announced his retirement from professional boxing last summer, believes Taylor, who was boxing on the undercard, is one of the best in the business to emerge from the amateur setup in recent times.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist simply tore up the ring against an opponent who has 14 wins to his name as a professional and had only ever been stopped once in 26 bouts – until Taylor intervened and made that record two.
Chaibi simply couldn’t live with the pace and precision of the former Lochend amateur who finished his night’s work 22 seconds into the second round with a devastating left hook that left the St Etienne man staring up towards the roof.
“I thought Josh Taylor was fantastic,” said Froch, whose last fight was victory over George Groves in May 2014. “I am a big fan of his and he looked great against a tough and durable Lyes Chaibi, who is very hard to stop.
“There were a few amateurs coming through from Sheffield where I was training with Rob McCracken. Now they are turning over I am suddenly recognising faces. Taylor is one and I can see him doing well because he has that amateur pedigree. He punches hard and he looked classy on Saturday night.”
Taylor has now registered four consecutive knockouts as a paid boxer, his first coming in El Paso, Texas, just weeks after teaming up with Cyclone Promoter and former super featherweight champion Barry McGuigan last summer.
He made his hometown debut at Meadowbank in October where Hungarian Adam Mate was knocked to the canvas little more than 90 seconds into the opening round. Romanian Daniel Cosmin Minescu didn’t fare much better in Taylor’s third bout in Belfast a month later as he too was knocked out in the first round.
The 25-year-old light welterweight had previously indicated his desire to get some more ring time under his belt but admitted he was delighted all the same with his weekend performance south of the border.
“It was strictly business,” Taylor said. “I train so hard in the gym and dedicate my life to the sport. It was just another day at the office so it’s onto the next one now. I just take one fight at a time and let my team decide the road for me. I felt great in there against a step up in class.
“I just try and improve myself everyday in the gym. Hopefully I’ll be pushing on the door by the end of this year for a domestic title.”
Given how well he has adapted to life in the pro-ranks, Taylor’s aspirations of finding himself in title contention later this year would appear to be bang on target.