Last night in Edinburgh, Scotland, red-hot super-lightweight prospect Josh Taylor advanced to championship level as he won the vacant Commonwealth title with a hugely impressive 5th-round stoppage over the tough and experienced Dave “Rocky” Ryan. Taylor, who had never previously gone beyond the 2nd-round in his 6-0 pro career, downed Ryan with a sickening right to the body. Ryan, showing his usual courage, beat the count but he was immediately under more fire, the referee having no choice but to stop the fight.
Time was 2-minutes, 45-seconds of the 5th and 25-year-old Taylor is now 7-0(7). 33-year-old Ryan, the former Commonwealth champ, is now 17-10(4).
Southpaw Taylor, an incredibly gifted boxer who is looked after by Irish legend Barry McGuigan and who is a stablemate of Carl Frampton’s, never put a foot wrong in his toughest test to date. Very fast of hand, the former Commonwealth games gold medal winner also proved an elusive target as proven warrior Ryan found out. Switching stance throughout the fight, Taylor landed some vicious work to the body. Ryan, who had been out for a year, tried his best and he did have some success in the 2nd-round, but he was made to look so slow in comparison to the much younger man.
Taylor scored a knock-down in the 3rd, when he whipped in a left to the body followed by a snappy left to the head. Ryan got up quickly and he made it through the round. In the 4th, Ryan’s right eye was swelling up noticeably and he was showing heart just by staying in there. Enjoying himself and supremely confident, Taylor was dropping his hands and landing shots at will.
Hurt badly by a left to the body right on the bell to end the 4th, Ryan was soon a beaten man, even though he never stopped trying. A nasty right to the body dropped Ryan in the 5th and the follow-up got Taylor the stoppage and what appears to be the first in a number of pro titles.
Afterwards, McGuigan – who had previously stated how Taylor is the best fighter to come out of Scotland since the great Ken Buchanan – said he would put Taylor in with three-weight world champ Ricky Burns in “nine months to a year.”
That would be a big, big risk and incredible progress. But based on last night’s performance, Taylor is good enough to be moved that quickly.
A new star has been born!