Josh Taylor electric in Commonwealth title victory
Edinburgh, SCOTLAND – Unbeaten super lightweight prospect Josh Taylor took a big step toward contender status by thrashing Dave Ryan inside five rounds at the Meadowbank Sports Centre on Friday, picking up the vacant Commonwealth title in the process.
Taylor, a decorated amateur star who represented Team GB at the Olympics in London 2012, scored a quick knockdown in the third and a terrific right hook to the body dropped Ryan again in the fifth. Following a brutal follow-up assault, referee Michael Alexander stopped the contest at 2:45 of the round.
“I’m on cloud nine,” said Taylor (7-0, 7 KOs) after claiming his first title as a professional. “It’s not sunk in yet because this was only my seventh fight. I was expected to win and there was a bit of pressure but I ended up enjoying myself.
“I hit him to the body early and the game plan (trainer) Shane (McGuigan) put together worked perfectly.”
Taylor was impressive defensively and was crossing over the left hand out of the southpaw stance very early. Adept as a switch-hitter, there were times when Ryan simply didn’t know where the next attack was coming from and he struggled to match the home fighter in terms of speed and skill.
The visitor did have moderate success but was paid back in full with a solid body assault, which became a staple of Taylor’s offense. A big left to the midsection set up a left hand to the head for the first knockdown and Ryan’s right eye was badly swollen following Round 3.
Another huge left to the body doubled Ryan in two as the bell rang to end the fourth and there was no way the Englishman could take much more.
The right hand body shot, which dropped Ryan in the fifth, effectively ended the contest and only his tremendous heart got him off the canvas. The stoppage was merciful.
This was the biggest and most eye-catching victory of Taylor’s career to date, made even more impressive by the fact that he only entered the paid ranks in July of last year. This was actually the first time the Scotsman had been extended beyond the second round.
The 25-year-old Taylor is managed by former WBA featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, who admitted to this reporter, last week, that facing the more experienced Ryan (17-10, 4 KOs) was a “brave move.”
It was a move worth making, however, as the Scotsman turned in a scintillating performance on home ground.
“I’ve been told not to say anything outrageous about (WBA junior welterweight titleholder) Ricky Burns but I just see so much talent in this kid,” said McGuigan. “Josh will be in London (on the George Groves-Eduard Gutknecht undercard) providing his hands are OK.”
A feverish Edinburgh crowd echoed home every punch and Taylor also had world-class back up in the form of WBA featherweight titleholder Carl Frampton, former cruiserweight and heavyweight titleholder David Haye and three-time world title challenger George Groves, who are stablemates.
The bout was televised on terrestrial television (Channel 5) in the U.K.
Tom Gray is a U.K. correspondent/ editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing.
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