Boxing fans across the globe have been in awe following a faultless display from Josh Taylor who eased his way through to the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.
The WBC Silver super-lightweight champion made a seventh-round stoppage of the previously undefeated American Ryan Martin at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Saturday night look effortless. In truth, Taylor did not even break sweat.
In this devastating form it is difficult to see anyone other than the Prestonpans puncher taking home the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
A semi-final match-up against Belarusian Ivan Baranchyk awaits the 27-year-old in the new year, not to mention a maiden shot at the IBF world title. There’s a lot riding on his next 12 rounds, if it even goes the distance.
And the brainchild behind the knockout series, Kalle Sauerland, admitted that a return to Glasgow for the penultimate duel is a distinct possibility.
“I am almost there. A world title fight. This is what I’ve trained for these last ten years,” Taylor explained after his 14th consecutive victory, 12 coming by TKO.
“This is the point I have dreamed about. There’s no-one going to beat me now. I don’t think there’s anyone who can live with me after that performance.
“This is the start of a new chapter for me. Everything so far was about getting to this point but this is me just getting started. I’ve been saying for years I am going to be the world champion. I’ve always believed it and now I am almost there.
“I believe there is more to come from me as well. This is just the beginning.”
Despite his opponent’s previous unblemished record, Taylor was assertive in the build-up to the contest that Martin, 25, had never shared a ring with an opponent of his ilk.
“He never threw very much at first and I thought he was just sounding me out. I caught him with a good stiff jab and I could see him thinking, ‘oh s**t’.
“It was like he was surprised by my power as well as my speed. I caught him with a body shot and I could see him wincing. I knew I had him. He wasn’t enjoying the body shots and he looked lost in there.
“That was my best performance yet. Everything was flowing effortlessly. My speed, my power, distance control, all cylinders were firing perfectly. I was surprised how easy it was.
“I’m super confident now. I never got out of second gear. I felt I had a lot more to come.
“I probably could have taken him out earlier if I’d really put my foot on the gas but I felt I didn’t need to. I was boxing nicely and didn’t need to rush. It was so easy for me. The atmosphere in the Hydro was the best I’ve experienced. It was so loud, the reception I got was unbelievable.”
Taylor continued: “I know it sounds daft but I was just so relaxed in there. At one point a thought came in to my head – ‘I feel like Joe Calzaghe against Jeff Lacy’ (super middleweight world title bout in 2006). That’s what I felt like. It was just something that flashed through my head and I had to switch back on again.
“I just felt so fluid and relaxed, everything was flowing, just like Calzaghe did that night.”
Taylor was spot on with his assessment. The atmosphere generated by the 6,000 fans inside the Hydro was electric and the volume was turned up a notch more when the Tennessee-native’s defence started to weaken in the second and third rounds. Taylor, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has got so much in his armoury and he delivered a devastating blow to the right side of the body in the fourth that took the wind out of his opponent.
Slowly but surely Taylor’s gameplan was falling into place with Martin unable to offer up any form of attack.
And he was finally put out of his misery when he was dropped to the canvas by a left hook to the head in the seventh, with referee Victor Loughlin bringing the contest to a halt with 39 seconds remaining.
Also in Glasgow, Belfast’s Ryan Burnett was stopped prior to the beginning of the fifth round of his WBSS bantamweight quarter-final against Filipino-American boxer, Nonito Donaire.
On the undercard, Edinburgh featherweight Stephen Tiffney secured a points victory over Arturo Lopez.