Taylor vs Baranchyk: Josh Taylor motivated by threat of 'The Beast'
By Chris Walker
Last Updated: 16/05/19 10:27am
Josh Taylor’s spotlight moment is almost upon him.
The latest darling of Scottish boxing as Ricky Burns, his predecessor, winds down, Taylor is hopeful he can walk the trail that those before him, fighting men like Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan, proud Scottish warrior, voyaged with such courage and honour.
Awaiting him this Saturday night is unbeaten Belarusian, Ivan Baranchyk, and although Taylor heads into the contest an overwhelming favourite, he's fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
🏴'The Tartan Tornado' @JoshTaylorBoxer faces 'The Beast' @IBaranchyk this Saturday— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) May 14, 2019
The IBF super-lightweight world title is on the line - Can Taylor win his first world title? 🤔👇
📺Find out on Sky Sports Action on Saturday from 9pm! pic.twitter.com/MlL0Xl3Z0l
Possessing a flawless ledger following a rapid ascent to boxing's business district, Baranchyk made good on his potential at the backend of last year when he stopped Anthony Yigit in New Orleans to capture the vacant IBF super-lightweight strap he defends this weekend.
His rise to this promising position has been one navigated in a straightforward manner, but that trend is likely to cease this weekend as the man they call "The Beast" heads to Glasgow to take on the local hero.
"I'm motivated by the challenge that he brings," revealed Taylor when taking a short break from the regimented training plans devised by long-time coach, Shane McGuigan. "He's very ferocious, very strong, very aggressive and he's trying to hurt you with every single punch that he throws.
"This is definitely the hardest fight of my career, but I believe the bigger the occasion, the better I seem to get and rise to it. You'll see a polished performance from me on Saturday, sharp, crisp, and you'll see me punching hard."
Saturday night - The Monster v El Sensacional 🔥— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) May 14, 2019
2 world champions, both undefeated - What's your fight prediction? 🤔
📺🥊@naoyainoue_410 & @ERodriguezManny fight in the @WBSuperSeries semi-finals this Saturday LIVE on Sky Sports Action from 9pm pic.twitter.com/uIqKfbMUfW
A disciple of Scottish boxing since first falling in love with the sport, Taylor's amateur credentials have been heavily praised and that impressive form when representing his nation has transferred over to the professional code with relative ease.
Holding a number of standout wins over respected names such as Dave Ryan, Ohara Davies and Viktor Postol, Taylor's climb through the rankings at 140lbs has been a joy to watch with Scottish boxing fans joining him on every step of the journey. Basking in their adulation, Taylor can recall a time not so long ago when he was also in awe of a boxing Scot.
He said: "I used to watch Alex Arthur's fights all the time when I was a kid. I used to go to his fights when I was a young lad and he was an inspiration when I was younger. When I started getting into boxing I wanted to be like Alex Arthur.
"There's been some great fighters from this country and I'm looking forward to joining them and becoming Scotland's next world champion and staying in that position for a long time."
If victorious, Taylor will walk straight into another high-profile contest as the loitering threat of Regis Prograis will somehow have to be deterred. The Louisiana fighter has built up quite a reputation in his home country and there's hopes within his team he can become one of America's next big stars. Taylor, a student of those potentially on his hitlist, is fully aware of what lies ahead after briefly watching Prograis' latest win over Kiryl Relikh.
Taylor said: "I haven't seen the whole fight, but I've seen bits and bobs of it. He showed good head movement and dropped him in the first round of the fight, but I wasn't really impressed with Relikh. He looked like an old fighter, he looked very old and he looked weight drained. It wasn't a live opponent in my eyes but Prograis done a good job. I'll have that fight whenever and I believe that I'll have no problems getting the win."
Taylor fights Baranchyk on Saturday at 9pm, live on Sky Sports Action. Naoya Inoue fights Emmanuel Rodriguez on the same bill.