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Ricky Burns v Josh Taylor?

When Ricky Burns lost his unification super-lightweight clash to Julius Indongo in April, there were fears the defeat would signal an end to big time boxing in Scotland.

Since 2010, the Coatbridge boxer, Scotland’s first three-weight world champion and only the third to do so in the history of British boxing, has solely been responsible for Britain’s leading promoters and their respective broadcasting partners making trips north of the border.

Promoter Eddie Hearn conceded a loss to the Namibian meant that a career defining fight in the US was “unlikely”, and a return to Glasgow with Sky Sports in tow would only be viable with the “right opponent” in the opposite corner.

At the Indongo post-fight media conference, the first question put to both the fighter and his promoter, was in relation to fellow Scot Josh Taylor and whether he meets such criteria? The Edinburgh fighter had successfully defended his Commonwealth super-lightweight title a month earlier and had called out Burns.

However the prospect of an all-Scottish showdown was quickly dismissed by both Burns and Hearn. After all Burns is a veteran of 13 world title contests with 48 bouts under his belt. In comparison, despite an impressive amateur pedigree, Taylor had less than 10 outings in the paid ranks.

Instead, both urged the management of their young rival, Barry and Shane McGuigan, to turn their attention to fellow Matchroom stablemate Ohara Davies, who had a perfect 15-0 record with 12 knock-outs. They were extremely confident that the brash Londoner would have little difficulty in dispatching an up-and-coming prospect from a rival promotional company, Cyclone.

Earlier this month both Burns and Hearn were ringside at the Braehead Arena to witness Taylor put in a commanding performance to stop Davies in seven rounds. The win saw Taylor add the WBC silver belt to his Commonwealth title. As soon as referee Howard Foster had called off the contest, the 26-year-old turned to Burns - who was providing expert analysis for Channel 5 – and shouted 'You next' on more than one occasion. Hearn meanwhile wore a look of disbelief as he made his way to comfort his fighter, but later took to social media to congratulate his opponent on a “great performance”.

After initially being dismissive at the possibility of sharing a ring with his fellow countryman, Burns stated he was now “open” to the idea and it was up to the McGuigan’s to 'make an offer'. He went on to reveal that his own return was pencilled in for October. No opponent has officially been announced but it’s likely to be Manchester's Anthony Crolla.

Irrespective of whether a showdown with Burns comes to fruition, Barry McGuigan believes, the future of Scottish boxing is in safe hands under his charge. The Irishman is confident that the former 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist will achieve similar success as a professional and that can only be good news for Scottish fight fans.

He insisted that Taylor will not be marketed just as an 'Edinburgh fighter' but one for the 'whole of Scotland”. With no purposeful indoor venue in the Scottish capital, the Braehead Arena on the outskirts of Glasgow is likely to become home for the short to medium term. Such a move will allow him to attract a new fan base in the West to compliment his existing one in the East.

The boxer himself says he would 'love' to fight in an 'iconic venue' such as Edinburgh Castle.

With his name now inside the top 15 of the WBC world rankings plus UK-wide prime time exposure on terrestrial television, Taylor and his team were discussing their future options when Davies hobbled into the post-fight media conference with his entourage.

He paid tribute to the “better man” who had won and wished him “all the best for the future”.

The Englishman didn’t endear himself to the locals during the build-up with his arrogant demeanour alongside his contemptuous attitude towards Taylor’s ability.

However from the third round onwards he initiated the touching of gloves at the end of each round. This was a mark of respect towards the Scotsman that he had previously failed to show outside the ring.

The manner of the defeat was no doubt a humbling experience and one which might make him a better boxer. Time will tell if he is able to recover and reach similar heights which are predestined for Taylor.

The Journalist

Writer: Imran Azam Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 25 2017

Time: 5:42PM


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