BBN Editor Tim Rickson attempts to break down the eagerly-anticipated WBSS semi-final and IBF world super-lightweight championship clash between Josh Taylor (14-0) and Ivan Baranchyk (19-0):
Scotland’s Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor and Belarus’ Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk continue their respective quests for the Ali Trophy in the 140lb division on May 18 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
Early odds show that Taylor is the favourite to win at 1/4 on and Baranchyk is currently 4/1.
Taylor is currently 14-0 with 12 KOs and Baranchyk is 19 unbeaten with the same number of knockouts.
Both boxers scored seventh-round stoppages against opponents unbeaten in 22 fights in their last outings.
Taylor smashed through Ryan Martin (22-0) in seven in November last year in Scotland, and Baranchyk retired Anthony Yigit (21-0-1) after the doctor wouldn’t allow him to continue when his left eye closed completely last October in New Orleans.
Both booked their semi-final places with strong performances to set up a sensational Super Series semi-final fight between two heavy-handed unbeaten super-lightweight champions with a world title, aptly, on the line.
Belarusian Baranchyk won the vacant IBF title in his last fight with the Swede, so comes into the contest confidently as a world champion. And WBC #1 Taylor now comes into the bout with Baranchyk, not only to book his place in the final, but also taking his first shot at world title glory.
Both are incentivised fully and with 24 KOs and 33 victories between them, it’s hard to see it going to the scorecards.
The Scot, trained by Shane McGuigan, is powerful and boasts an 86% KO ratio due to scoring 12 stoppages from 14 bouts. Only former WBC world super-lightweight champion Viktor Postol lasted the distance with him, but he was cut from the second stanza and touched down late on in the 10th round. Alfonso Olvera also managed to survive to hear the final bell in an eight-rounder with Taylor in 2017.
Prestonpans' Taylor has proven his punch power at world level, having dropped a former world titlist. His dismantling and outmaneuvering of top prospect Ryan Martin displayed his boxing prowess and skillset to the world and should now be a favourite to win the tournament. JT schooled the formerly unbeaten Martin from the opening bell and stopped him in seven. He can find angles with his masterful movement and sneaky shots, and breaks the heart and will of his opponents by landing so frequently.
Baranchyk, trained by Pedro Luis Diaz, did some serious damage to Anthony Yigit’s eye in his last fight and has a reputation as a ferocious puncher. Sometimes, he can be likened to Mike Tyson for the way he launches himself into knockout punches from across the ring. Yigit was well in the fight with Baranchyk, however, who struggled with his southpaw stance at times.
Ivan Baranchyk definitely has holes in his defence and he hangs his hands down in mid-range between hips and head, which Josh Taylor will find openings and exploit right from the first bell. He overloads on his shots, relying on his fearsome power, and can sometimes telegraph his punches, which Taylor will punish.
I can foresee Taylor landing the uppercut copiously on the inside when Baranchyk comes in and he will be outboxed on the inside and hurt with Taylor’s consistent body blows.
I think Baranchyk will be lively and quick for the first few rounds, bouncing back and forth on his toes, looking to land big shots. After three or four rounds, I think he’ll settle down and that’s when Taylor’s shots will start to land increasingly and his superior output will inflict mounting damage over time.
I think Taylor will outsmart and outwork the Russian-born ‘Beast’, causing the 26-year-old to gradually fatigue, lose heart, and become frustrated. He has been known to land the odd low blow, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a telling off or a point deducted at some point in the fight, especially with the home crowd roaring their hero on.
I predict Taylor to win via stoppage in the mid-rounds, approximately 6-8.
Whoever does book their place in the final will face either Regis Prograis (23-0) or Kiryl Relikh (23-2) next, who both meet three weeks before on April 27.
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