What To Know About Josh Taylor’s Boxing Career So Far…
Basic Info: Josh Taylor has the ceiling of being the greatest British fighter, ever and is very similar to the plight of the current U.K. GOAT, Joe Calzaghe, often doubted, and but never defeated. The Scottish Taylor is a fighter, who was moved quickly and has already amassed a hall-of-fame career in 18 fights. As Taylor accomplished much more than his peers did in less fights.
His first defense of all four of the lightweight world titles, which makes Taylor undisputed is against Jack Catterall, a fighter trained by Jamie Moore, and is currently the WBO #1 contender, as Taylor looks to make his first defense of his belts at home in Scotland at the OVO Hydro. Catterall is a good fighter, but Taylor appears to be a great one, yet, Taylor appears to be giving Catterall the fight since Catterall didn’t force a mandatory between himself and Taylor prior to the Jose Ramirez undisputed bout.
Taylor’s career is at a unique point as I don’t see him fighting more than 25 fights at most as a pro, as he took a lot of hard fights early. Taylor is in the Calzaghe ilk in which he speaks to his people, the Scottish, but seems to be a world champion, who is fine with not having the fame most want from being a world champion, on a world stage. Not unlike Calzaghe.
Another notable is Taylor spent the beginning of his career with Shane McGuigan and Cyclone Promotions, but in 2020, Taylor signed with Top Rank Inc. and changed trainers to Ben Davison. It was in January of 2020 that Taylor also had partnered with MTK Global.
Taylor’s story is not yet written, but it is at the closing stages and feels like a uniquely British story of boxing success, that has not had much interest in appeasing the American fight fan.
How To Watch: Saturday, February 26th, 11:00 AM PST – ESPN+
If You Could Watch One Fight To Get Ready For This Bout: Josh Taylor vs. Regis Prograis
Fighters Taylor Beat To Win The World Title: Ivan Baranchyk (IBF 140 lbs title), Regis Prograis (WBA 140 lbs title), Jose Ramirez (WBC & WBO 140 lbs title) – holds all four world titles at one time as of 2022.
01) Undisputed At 140 lbs.
Josh Taylor’s return to the U.S. was a historic one. Defeating the fellow unified two-belt champion Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas, Nevada, Taylor strong-armed the 140 lbs division.
Taylor had turned pro in Texas on a Carl Frampton show and been featured on smaller undercards a bit as a prospect, but once he grew legs as a contender – he fought exclusively in the U.K. until this bout.
The fight showed a lot about Taylor, in the pre-fight build-up any reporter or manager who was associated with Jose Ramirez, was Taylor’s enemy. In fact in this Top Rank released video you see Taylor get into it with Ramirez’s team after the weigh-in. Taylor is a fighter, and when he is ready to fight – he truly flips a switch that is different than most, and that was on display in the U.S.
Despite being promoted by Top Rank, Taylor brought an attitude of the world was against him. It will take an awful lot for Taylor to surpass winning all four belts at 140 lbs, and is the only Scottish boxer to ever be undisputed alongside the great lightweight Ken Buchanan, but Taylor has the potential to be a two-or-even-three belt world champion if he wanted, or a fighter who can challenge the greatest of his era, in the weight class he chooses.
Taylor was akin to Canelo Alvarez, Teofimo Lopez, George Kambosos Jnr, and Katie Taylor, who at one point in 2021, all of those fighters held every belt in the division – yet Taylor seemed to be the one people forgot.
Taylor also didn’t have a platform for his undisputed fight in the U.K. Taylor vs. Ramirez ended up being on Fite.TV as a PPV, which more than likely a lot of fight fans passed on.
02) Beating Regis Prograis, and Winning The Ali Trophy
Josh Taylor was viewed as one of the guys in the division and entering the World Boxing Super Series tournament, it was viewed as Taylor vs. Regis Prograis in the finals which happened. The downside to the event was….the birth of boxing streaming.
The WBSS was ahead of its time, as hardcore fight fans knew how to watch boxing on the internet, but with a lot of homes not having smart TVs, a lot of Taylor’s fights came and went. Taylor achieved, but the audience wasn’t what you would have hoped for such big of fights.
Taylor’s opening bout was a stoppage win over Ryan Martin, a fighter at the time promoter by Tom Loeffler, followed by stopping Ivan Baranchyk, the IBF world champion, which was not the easiest of bouts to find, and despite Taylor stopping both, the impact on a world stage was rather muted.
Regis Prograis has the bigger personality, so heading into their bout – most of the coverage was about Prograis, as Taylor is not unlike another Taylor, Katie – in which they both have rather muted or intense interviews, and are all-in on fighting.
The fight was Taylor’s toughest of his career. One that saw him win a majority decision over Regis Prograis.
The downside. Most fighters looking to be undisputed have to go on a long journey. Taylor’s was short. He fought in the WBSS boxing tournament, and after that tournament, had to only face Jose Ramirez to win all four world titles. The journey was actually quite possible to miss, despite the achievement being so large, Taylor did it in a 2-to-3-year window.
03) Defeating Viktor Postol In 13 Fights
For The Scottish, who read my blog – this is probably when Taylor became the guy that they were ready to follow for his whole career. Not promoted on major networks such as Sky Sports, Taylor was the purist choice and fought Viktor Postol, who had only lost to Terence Crawford at this point on PPV, and in a mere 13 fights, Taylor replicated that win.
The bout which only had a few ads on regular television in the U.K., a few days out, saw Taylor overcome adversity early to beat a former world champion. This often is the kiss of death for U.K. fighters, as the first time going to the world level often, a world-level fighter will get a second-life to their career by beating British fighters. Taylor didn’t let that happen. In fact, Taylor would drop Postol late in the fight to create the definitive moments of the fight.
Not unlike when he defeated Ohara Davies, Taylor was not happy with the win alone. Taylor’s goals were bigger. For a U.K. fighter to feel unsatisfied with wins over Davies and Postol, told most – Taylor truly wanted to be the guy of his era, and currently is at the 140 lbs. division.
When Taylor looks good, man does he look good – when looks bad, he can look shaky. This fight shows both sides of him.
Along with Ken Buchanan, Taylor is a proud Scottish fighter, who takes his country with him to the ring. Scotland, much smaller than England, has a fierce rivalry against its neighbor, and Taylor has been a welcoming of any and any of these types of fights, it is what made the Ohara Davies fight special.
Taylor also has a great sense of perspective, it seems that he wants to be mentioned amongst Ken Buchanan, not above him, a show of respect, a lot of fighters rarely do. Beyond that, Taylor isn’t influenced by money – similar to Vasyl Lomachenko, Taylor’s goal is simple, to fight the best and be the best.
Taylor has added to the Scotland vs. England rivalry that happens in football, or in America, soccer, with his run to the title, and his bout with Catterall will continue that.
He is Mean
I am not trying to judge his character too much, but Taylor is obviously a tough individual and a bully in the ring, who doesn’t sugar-coat it. Taylor is intimidating, and tough. A true blue-collar guy, who seems like he wouldn’t mind isolatation as much as the ring itself.
Taylor’s own toughness and possible meanness, might be a reason fans haven’t taken to him yet. His social media post are…candid, as well unapologetic.
Taylor as a fighter who sells the fight is an acquired taste. Taylor in the ring is an all-time great.
The Greatest European Fighter Ever…?
A bold statement to make, but one that might have a valid case.
Even in 18 fights, Taylor stands on the ground that most never walked, ever – let alone in such a few fights. The European fighters, especially British boxers, can be classified into two tiers, legendary in the ring, and legendary in-and-out of the ring.
The first tier has your Joe Calzaghe, Tyson Fury, and Lennox Lewis’ of the world. Three of the greatest fighters to ever live, yet, neither was fully embraced by the sports public, ever. Despite Lewis being one of the five best heavyweights ever, Anthony Joshua has become a bigger star than him with a lot less talent, and Calzaghe took a lot of meaningless defenses in his hometown that soured people during his prime – something Taylor isn’t doing.
Fury is the one who seems to provide entertainment with in-ring skills, yet – the book isn’t quite written on him as of now.
The second tier is ahcievement meets entertainment as Chris Eubank might be the most iconic boxer in European history, followed by the likes of Nigel Benn, David Haye, Frank Bruno, and Ricky Hatton. These guys could win or lose, and the public would love them. Taylor doesn’t have that beloved reach with the masses.
It sounds like a reach, but honestly – Josh Taylor has a chance to be the best European fighter, if not in the conversation.