Edinburgh boxing legend Ken Buchanan believes Josh Taylor will take his first steps to stardom when he fights on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s world super bantamweight title showdown with Scott Quigg in Manchester on Saturday night.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has an unblemished professional record heading into this weekend’s showdown with Frenchman Lyes Chaibi, his fourth bout since teaming up with Cyclone Promotions and former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan last summer.
The 25-year-old Prestonpans light welterweight is expected to face the toughest test of his professional career at the Manchester Arena having swept aside all three of his previous opponents by knockout.
Nevertheless, Buchanan, who was crowned world lightweight champion in September 1970 after beating Panama’s Ismael Laguna in Puerto Rico, says he expects Taylor to produce another masterclass in the ring.
“Josh has come a long way and his time will come – that’s for sure,” said Buchanan, who believes Taylor is set to become Scotland’s next world champion. “As long as he concentrates, he’ll achieve everything he wants to. He can handle the pressure as he’s got a great team and support behind him.
“He’s already won a Commonwealth Games gold medal and has been to the Olympics as an amateur so I don’t have any doubts over him. I think he would stand out in America even at this stage of his career. He made his pro debut over there last year so that has given him an idea of what’s in front of him.”
Taylor’s Northern Irish stablemate Frampton is the bookies favourite to win his unified WBA and IBF clash with Quigg in front of a 20,000 capacity crowd and, although tension has been rife between the duo ever since the fight was announced in November, Buchanan reckons whoever is the calmest will prevail.
The 70-year-old, who was honoured with a civic reception at the City Chambers last month, also expects Taylor to maximise his opportunity and shirk off any pressure of boxing live in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Buchanan has fought on some of the sport’s most famed bills, twice headlining shows ahead of the great Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Gardens in New York in the early 70s.
“I was nervous but always very positive that I was going to win whoever was in front of me,” said Buchanan, who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000. “My concentration was on getting rid of the other guy and I’m not talking about the referee! Those fights in America were particularly nervewracking but that’s the way it’s going to be in the ring sometimes and I’ve told Josh that.
“It’s all about being positive, though. You can be nervous but you shouldn’t be afraid. You have to fight with the ability you have and Josh, like myself, has a good left hand and a good right hand.”
Buchanan does, though, harbour some reservations about the direction boxing is moving in but admits his love for the sport is something that will never wane.
“The laddies are coming along a lot quicker now compared to my day,” he explained. “I think I had around 30 fights before I fought for the world title but now you can do it in ten fights or sometimes even earlier than that. There’s too many titles, to be honest. It’s become a joke and I think it’s letting the sport down.
“I still like to go down to Lochend and train. It’s great keeping active. I’ll always be into boxing, I’ve never put any weight on so I’ve been lucky in that respect. I really had a fantastic time a couple of weeks ago at my reception and to see so many people come and say to me ‘well done’. I’ve still got a lot of friends in the sport so it was a real experience. I felt like I’d won a fight again!”