Edinburgh’s Josh Taylor setup a mouth-watering final of the WBSS Super-lightweight tournament with Louisiana’s Regis Prograis by taking the IBF title from teak tough Belarusian Ivan Baranchyk at the SSE Arena in Glasgow on Saturday night.
In an intense championship bout, Baranchyk confirmed that he is a super tough competitor with a great engine, and that he never fails to pour pressure on his opponent with the intention of wearing them down or knocking them out.
At times, Taylor was almost cocky about his ability to stand and trade with Baranchyk but it was when he controlled the distance and walked his opponent onto stinging counters that he looked a level above the Freddie Roach trained fighter. That said, Baranchyk kept himself in the reckoning despite being dropped twice in the 6th round.
I had wondered if we had seen the best of Taylor in his battle with former WBC champion Victor Postal but he has grown both as a boxer and a man since that time.
Coincidentally, Postal and Baranchyk share Roach as their trainer so I expect much of the game plan they used came from Postal’s experience against Taylor.
After the unanimous decision was announced (117-109, 115-111, 115-111) Prograis came into the ring to congratulate his next opponent. The expected stare down between the two for the sake of the ringside photographers, quickly turned into heated words before they were parted. This is not the Josh Taylor of 2 years ago, he was not so outgoing, so confident, some might say cocky, he now looks and sounds like a man that knows where he stands in the world.
After watching the rise of Prograis, It was easy to predict the outcome of an eventual matchup between the pair, but this version of Taylor is a different fighter and I now see it as a 50/50 fight despite the natural brilliance of the American in his win over Kiryl Relikh in the other semi-final.
Taylor could well become the undisputed Super-lightweight champion of the world at some stage.