Josh Taylor vs Ryan Martin

Josh Taylor vs Ryan Martin, and the WBSS – Exclusive Interview

Published On Tuesday, October 16, 2018By Danny Flexen

Josh Taylor talks to Danny Flexen ahead of his WBSS opener against Ryan Martin

Some fighters seem a perfect fit for the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS), Comosa AG’s brand of eight-man tournament competition that recently began its second seasons, this time adding an extra division from last year, making three.

As Season 1 illustrated, the WBSS concept, while it has some moderate flaws, is the appropriate, nurturing home for highly accomplished boxers who have previously failed to cross over into the mainstream and trouser the big cheques.

Prestonpans super-lightweight Josh Taylor has already attracted a degree of fame, especially in the UK, thanks to Cyclone Promotions, terrestrial television and his own impressive performances against perennially challenging opposition. In comparison, November 3 first-round opponent Ryan Martin, the 22-0 (12) fighter from Cleveland Ohio, who travels to Glasgow to meet 13-0 (11) Taylor, has generated only a modicum of buzz outside the US.

While Taylor, two years his opponent’s senior, has built a reputation defeating former world champions in Miguel Vazquez and Viktor Postol, plus domestic rival Ohara Davies – all in front of raucous Scottish crowds – tall Martin has mostly plied his trade under the radar, his only widely recognisable victim being Breidis Prescott, a man notorious for chinning Amir Khan a decade ago (hope that you feel as old as it does me). It is this higher-level experience both as a pro and as an amateur – Martin had more fights but fewer as a senior competitor – that Taylor feels could make a difference, and the exciting 140lber also praises the advent of the WBSS.

“I’ve faced better opposition since turning pro, but I don’t think he’s faced anyone like me,” says the good-humoured 27-year-old. “I think that might play a part but you never know, he has more experience than me as a professional, but I think I’m a better fighter than him, I have a better boxing IQ, better timing and power, and I’m a more natural 140.

“The WBSS has been great for boxing. You generally get a lot of politics involved that messes up big fights. It has taken four-five years for fights to be made in the past and when they are eventually made they’re letdowns; the most famous example is Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, they could have had a series like Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. But in this tournament I can win two belts in three fights, fighting other champions; the concept is great for the sport.”

Despite believing himself the superior operator, Taylor is not looking past Martin to the later rounds of the tournament, in fact he rates the Abel Sanchez-trainer American. In such a tough fight – on paper at least – having the contest in Scotland, in a double-header with another WBSS showdown, bantam Ryan Burnett vs Nonito Donaire, could prove pivotal.

“Ryan Martin is very good, well-rounded, solid at everything,” Taylor explains. “He has good handspeed and hand position, good timing, but I have seen a few bits and bobs that I think I’m gonna expose; I’m not going to tell you what they are.

“Fighting in Scotland, I think gives me an extra 5-10%, it feels like they’re in the ring with me, they really get behind me, make a brilliant noise and they will make it a very cold night for him. Burnett will bring a good few Irish fans over, so hopefully they will get behind me as well.”

Given Taylor is guided by Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone and is trained by the Irish legend’s son Shane – both of whom have done a fantastic job with the “Tartan Tornado” –  that support is surely a formality. The victory is less certain, but if Taylor can come through, expect the autograph hunters and interview requests to increase at the same rate as his prize money. Unfortunately for us low-key writers…