From a stellar amateur career, to a seamless start to life as a professional, Josh Taylor has been thrust into deep waters in fight number 7 when he faces revitalised veteran Dave Ryan on Friday night.
The vacant Commonwealth Super Lightweight championship will be on the line for the two fighters in Scotland.
In just 12 months of boxing, Taylor has comprised a faultless 6-0(6KO’s) record, but the opposition has been far from what he faced over 3 or 5 rounds in the amateurs or what he will face over 12 at the end of the week.
Taylor is a Commonwealth Games Silver and Gold medallist winner, and will look to replicate that feat in the pros. But standing firmly in his way is Derby’s well-travelled Dave Ryan 17-9(4KO’s).
Ryan has not fought since injury curtailed his third meeting with John Wayne Hibbert (L TKO 10).
Ryan was well ahead in the fight before his back gave way in the 10th round, and Hibbert duly pounced and took his opportunity to avenge the two previous loses at the hands of Ryan (PTS 10 & TKO 9).
Prior to that, Ryan had also stunned the highly talented Tyrone Nurse (MD 12) in a barnburner – picking up the strap he will fight for once again on Friday.
He also holds notable wins over Paul McCloskey (PTS 8) and Darren Hamilton (DQ 1). While sharing the ring in defeat to Sam Eggington, Curtis Woodhouse, Hamilton and Adil Anwar.
The injury that struck Ryan was also the first time he had suffered a defeat inside the distance, and given such a vast array of talent sharing the ring with him, that is a tremendous feat.
Both are relatively tall for the weight – Ryan 5’10” while Taylor stands 5’11”. And the pair of fighters have shown aggressive and well poised styles in the ring – Taylor’s best defensive boxing coming notably in the unpaid code.
There are two contrasting questions lingering over this contest.
The first being, has the numerous wars finally caught up with Ryan? While the other asks if the plunge into the deep end has come too early for Taylor – still just 25 in spite of an eventful amateur career.
Barry McGuigan predicts big things for Taylor with the BBC:
But it seems that the training applied at amateur level in the UK has built fighters up to be ready early in their pro careers to face the best of Britain.
Ryan has mixed things up in the ring, but his best bet here is to set a high paced offensive onslaught from the very beginning of the fight.
He is driven by a tremendous engine, and should the desire to succeed in the sport still be there, then he can keep the high tempo through the 12 rounds.
For Taylor, it is all about movement. Keeping Ryan charging in, and coming to no avail each time. Off balance, Ryan may be dropped once or twice in the contest if Taylor can time his punches well enough, and if he shows he has the power at this level then a stoppage is very possible for the Scotsman.
Dave Ryan fights are never short in the drama department, and that is unlikely to change in contest number 27.
Taylor can start fast, before Ryan reminds his less experienced foe that he is in for a gruelling night.
But following a lengthy training camp, Taylor can ride out the storm, discovering a second wind to take him through to the end, where he will pick up his first professional title on the scorecards.
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