Josh Taylor explains why he is breaking with Barry McGuigan and heading for Las Vegas

World champion feels he has 'outgrown' current team

Friday, 10th January 2020, 6:00 am
Hibs fans Josh Taylor showed off his belts at Easter Road

Unified world super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor believes he is a step closer to fulfilling his dream of boxing undisputed welterweight supremo Terence Crawford.

The 29-year-old Prestonpans puncher has announced he has severed ties with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone promotions – his management since turning professional in summer 2015 – to sign a multi-fight deal with Las Vegas-based Top Rank – a stable that already boasts 36-0 American Crawford and Britain’s own Tyson Fury.

The undefeated Taylor (16-0) is the division’s No.1 fighter having won the IBF title in May before adding the WBA strap, Ring Magazine belt and Muhammad Ali Trophy, as winner of the World Boxing Super Series, following his enthralling 12-round scrap over the previously undefeated Regis Prograis at London’s O2 in October.

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The deal will also see the Scot’s future bouts screened exclusively by broadcast giants ESPN with an advisory deal with MTK Global also in place.

The Tartan Tornado has been tipped by the boxing fraternity to become undisputed world champion later this year with a match up against WBC and WBO champion, Jose Ramirez, also part of the Top Rank team, now only a matter of time.

However, Taylor has made no secret of his desire to vacate his belts and move up to challenge himself in the more congested division at 147lbs and a shot at Nebraska’s Crawford.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, Taylor said: “We both now operate under the same banner so there’s no reason for boxing politics to get involved.

“If I move up to 147lbs then that fight with Crawford should be easily made. The only negotiating that would need to happen would be if it is going to be here or in America. It’s been an ambition of mine to fight him for a long time.”

Taylor revealed that his decision to switch promoter will inevitably lead to a parting of ways with trainer, and Barry’s son, Shane.

“Listen, I’ve got to pay credit to Cyclone where it’s due because they’ve done a great job and put me in a really good position but, I kind of feel I’ve outgrown them,” he explained. “I’m yet to hear from Cyclone but I’m hoping we can be amicable and agree to go our separate ways. I think I need a bigger platform to put my name out there and one that I think I deserve.

“I’ve signed with the biggest promoter in America so I’m absolutely thrilled. It doesn’t mean I’m solely committed to fighting in America so I’ll still be fighting in the UK, which is the best of both worlds. I’ve also so just bought a new house so I’ll still generally be based here.

“I’m going to have MTK Global advising me too so I feel I’ve got a great team behind me.”

However, Cyclone issued a statement on social media in response to the news. It read: “We are very disappointed to read the news today that Josh Taylor has signed a promotional agreement with another promotional company.

“Josh is under an exclusive worldwide promotional contract with Cyclone Promotions.

“We have successfully brought Josh to the pinnacle of the sport from the day that he turned professional, including working alongside other stakeholders in boxing to deliver him the biggest fights.

“Most recently, Josh became IBF World Champion in May 2019 then unified champion in October 2019, and we have been working since then to plan the next stage of his career.

“We are saddened that Josh has felt the need to attempt to break his contract in this manner and frustrated at those who have caused him to do so.”