Josh Taylor (14-0) accurately lived up to his moniker ‘The Tartan Tornado’ on Saturday night as he blew away Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin (22-1) en-route to a seventh round stoppage.
Taking the initiative from the beginning and dominating the action in every round, Taylor showed a maturity that belies his his 14-fight unbeaten record. Despite Martin being unbeaten in 22 fights and long being touted as a hot prospect himself, the Scot showed himself to be a level above his American foe.
This progress is testimony to the way the proud Prestonpans puncher has been managed, as he has been put into tough tests at the right time to develop his talent. His domination of the provocative Ohara Davies in July 2017 demonstrated a cool head as he proceeded to hand out a boxing lesson and systematically dismantle the Hackney based puncher.
Following this victory, he defeated the crafty and experienced Miguel Vazquez. The Mexican who so often relies on his bag of tricks to frustrate and evade his opponents, could do nothing to make a fool of Taylor, ‘The Tartan Tornado’ became the first man to stop Vazquez, grinding him down in the ninth round.
Taylor’s points victory over former champion Viktor ‘The Iceman’ Postol removed him of his prospect label and transformed him into a genuine contender. The awkward Ukrainian provided a first real gut-check however, Taylor proved that not only did he have the guts but also the talent, focus, discipline and stamina to thaw ‘The Iceman’ and come away with his most significant win.
Through this series of contests, Taylor was able to develop his fighting style against tough opponents that presented him with different problems. He grew his confidence, learnt some lessons and managed to improve all facets of his game, which to many observers, now makes him the favourite to win the super-lightweight tournament of World Boxing Super Series.
Surely Ryan Martin will rue not testing himself sooner. His previously unblemished 22-0 record was padded with nameless and uninspiring opponents that did little to progress his ability and left him totally unprepared to face a burgeoning talent like Josh Taylor. Taylor proceeded to batter Martin to the head and body, he was the boss when fighting on the inside and the master when fighting from distance. His footwork was superb as he hopped in and out of range, making himself an elusive target and perplexing Martin into making mistakes, which would be immediately and painfully punished.
Despite Martin owning more victories than Taylor before their bout, his conclusive loss was a reminder that the quality of opponents is more important to the development of a prospect than quantity. By the end of the fight, Martin well and truly looked like he had been sucked up into the midst of a tornado – spun around a million times, dropped out of the sky and left beaten, bloodied and bewildered.
Meanwhile Team Taylor will be congratulating themselves on a job well done. Their matchmaking to develop their fighter from a prospect to a contender has been intelligent and brave. ‘The Tartan Tornado’ has risen to every challenge so far and will be confident of causing more devastation to his next opponent, as he sweeps into the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series.