Former boxing champion Barry McGuigan has worked with Josh Taylor close enough to appreciate that the 25-year-old has the talent to reach the top.
McGuigan now wants the East Lothian fighter to corroborate what he has seen in the gym and in the ring when the 25-year-old faces his first real litmus test in tonight’s Commonwealth super lightweight bout against the battled-hardened Dave Ryan at Meadowbank.
What Taylor lacks in experience (he has only fought nine rounds in his first six professional victories, while Ryan has boxed 181) he makes up with natural ability, according to McGuigan, who is the Scot’s promoter.
“Yes, it’s a risk fight, but I know how good Josh is and guys like Ryan will bring the best out of him,” insists McGuigan.
“There would be no point in putting him in against tough journeymen because all he would do is knock them out.
“I want Ryan to go half a dozen rounds, seven or eight even, because that will reinforce to me what I already know. But I’ll be surprised if he gets past eight.
“Ryan is 33 without too many miles on the clock and he’s durable and a good puncher with a decent left hook. I think Josh will be blistering and will look sensational.”
Alex Arthur admits he is proud to have inspired Josh Taylor as the East Lothian fighter bids to get his hands on the super lightweight Commonwealth title tonight.
Former British, Commonwealth, European and WBO super-featherweight champion Arthur has revealed how a boisterous young Taylor got involved in the sport after coming to watch him train over a decade ago.
Arthur said: “Josh came to watch me train when I was at Meadowbank. His mum used to send him up – this was about 2004, 2005.
“He was of a rowdy, boisterous young boy and he used to come up and watch me train for my fights.
“There was a time when I told him to go and get the gloves on and punch the bag. You can tell he is a total natural for it.
“I would like to think that I was part of the reason that Josh got involved in boxing and he has told me that himself.
“It’s nice to know I’ve inspired the younger generation, the modern day fighter – it’s fantastic.”