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Sunday Life

Carl Frampton: It was in Vegas I knew my pal Josh Taylor would hit the jackpot

Josh Taylor celebrates victory over Regis Prograis during the World Boxing Super Series. Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Josh Taylor celebrates victory over Regis Prograis during the World Boxing Super Series. Credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Carl Frampton

By Carl Frampton

Josh Taylor has joined the elite of world boxing after unifying the IBF and WBA light-welterweight titles as well as winning the World Boxing Super Series Muhammad Ali trophy, and his earning potential should shoot through the roof.

I remember the first day Josh came into the gym when we used to train alongside each other in London and it was obvious right away that he was a special talent, so it was great to see someone fulfil their potential with such an exciting victory over Regis Prograis in the O2 Arena last Saturday night.

It's one thing having the natural talents and quite another bringing every attribute to the ring to enable you to triumph at the highest level.

There have been plenty of fighters who have had a lot of talent but not made it to the top but he showed the character, the grit and the boxing skill to come out on top against Prograis in a fight that will be remembered for a long time.

It was a brilliant performance from Josh, who in only his 16th fight has become a unified champion and also picked up the Ring Magazine belt to confirm his position as the No.1 light-welterweight in the world.

Not only is he the top dog at light-welter but also, in my view, pound-for-pound the joint best fighter in the UK along with super-middleweight Callum Smith and I would say he now has to be in the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

I really caught a glimpse of what was to come when Josh was out with me in Las Vegas ahead of my fight with Leo Santa Cruz in 2017. Josh was sparring former world welterweight champion Shawn Porter, ahead of only his eighth fight, and I remember thinking, 'This guy is unreal' because he bossed the spar.

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So, while it was always going to be a tough fight against such a quality operator as Prograis, I was in no way surprised that Josh came out on top.

It was a very close fight with some rounds hard to score but at the end of it I was confident that he had won, though when I heard the first score which had it as a draw I was worried that it may have had to go to the WBSS fourth judge to decide it. Thankfully there was no such controversy.

I scored it to Josh by a couple of rounds and at this point in the year I would say it's the fight of the year such was the intensity and skill on display.

I think Prograis assumed he would be the stronger man in there but when they engaged up close it was Josh who was bullying him, using his shoulder to push him off and dominate with quality punching. His energy was terrific.

Josh has always had a great engine and showed it, while also dealing with a closing eye from the eighth onwards.

After such a great win Josh also had the class to give a nice message to his partner Danielle Murphy, who recently lost her father, and post-fight we were in contact and sent me a nice text as well.

The future is very bright for Josh and if he meets WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez I would back him to unify all the belts.

Belfast Telegraph


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