With junior welterweight Josh Taylor set to take on Ivan Baranchyk in a World Boxing Super Series’ semifinal round this weekend, the Scottish fighter tells Sky Sports that he’s motivated by the challenge that Baranchyk will present to him — although he has no doubt that he’ll rise to the challenge to put on an impressive performance.
“This is definitely the hardest fight of my career, but I believe the bigger the occasion, the better I seem to get and rise to it. You’ll see a polished performance from me on Saturday, sharp, crisp, and you’ll see me punching hard.”
Taylor is the betting favorite to beat Baranchyk this weekend, and should he pull through he’ll move on to face Regis Prograis in the tournament’s final match — a true pick ‘em kind of matchup. Of course Taylor doesn’t necessarily see it that way, so when asked to assess Prograis’ last fight against Kiryl Relikh, this is how he responded:
“I haven’t seen the whole fight, but I’ve seen bits and bobs of it. He showed good head movement and dropped him in the first round of the fight, but I wasn’t really impressed with Relikh. He looked like an old fighter, he looked very old and he looked weight drained. It wasn’t a live opponent in my eyes but Prograis done a good job. I’ll have that fight whenever and I believe that I’ll have no problems getting the win.”
That kind of confidence is probably to be expected from a top talent like Taylor, and I know Prograis has essentially expressed the same sentiment about Taylor, but that fight is anything but a ‘gimme’ for either man.
First things first, though. Before we jump all-in on a Taylor-Prograis finals with predictions and analysis, Taylor has to get by Baranchyk this weekend.