Tributes have started to come through from the wider Scottish sporting world following Josh Taylor’s (16-0, 12 KOs) Majority Decision win over America’s Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) at London’s O2 arena on Saturday night. Taylor now holds the WBA Super World and IBF World light-welterweight world titles and also picked up the WBSS’s Muhammad Ali trophy following his hard-fought victory.
Taylor built up a relationship with former Hibernian manager Neil Lennon during Lennon’s time at the club, with Taylor a frequent visitor to their training ground, and former Hibs player and current Celtic player Scott Brown believes that Taylor is on the road to replicating the legendary status enjoyed by Ken Buchanan.
“I’ve not spoken to him since the fight but I think everyone would be wanting a piece of him the now,” said Brown when speaking to Stewart Fisher of The Herald. “I sat up in Aberdeen and watched the fight on my iPad. He is a great guy who is really down to earth. I am delighted for him that he has done so well. Could I take him? Why not! I would give it a good go for five minutes!”
“He came into (Hibernian’s training ground) East Mains a few times as he’s a big Hibee and Shane and Barry McGuigan are his managers,” added Lennon. “He’s very talented. People have been talking about Josh for a long time since he won the Commonwealth gold.
“He’s turned into an unbelievable fighter and it was fight of the year against Prograis. He’s a credit to himself and his country and there will be some more big fights to look forward to now. I tried boxing a few times and got the c*** knocked out of me! That was the end of that!”
The WBSS bantamweight final between “Monster” Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) and Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan on November 7. Inoue has taken just 5 minutes and 29 seconds to book his place in the showcase final after a first-round win over Juan Carlos Payano in his first fight and a stoppage in two over Emmanuel Rodriguez in the semi-final.
“I never imagined it,” he said when discussing his two quick-fire wins. “I’m prepared to fight for 12 rounds with Nonito Donaire, but if I see an opening, I will aim for a knockout. I have been watching Donaire throughout his career and was stealing his moves when I was starting out in boxing. I have a lot of respect for Donaire, I have idolised him and that’s why he was the one I wanted to fight the most in this tournament. But now it’s time for a change of generations.”
When it gets it right, the WBSS really delivers, as we saw last weekend with Taylor-Prograis, and Inoue is excited about the prospect of raising the Ali Trophy at the end of it. “This final will be the biggest highlight of my career thus far,” he declared. “It will also be like a crossroad fight for what lies ahead for my future. I’m just looking forward to seeing what is waiting ahead in my career after winning the Ali Trophy.”
Chris Eubank Jr. (28-2, 21 KOs) will continue to work with Nate Vasquez over in America as he gets ready for his fight against Florida-based Russian Matvey Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KOs) at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on December 7.
Eubank teamed up with Vasquez before February’s decision unanimous decision win over James DeGale, with regular cornerman Ronnie Davies continuing to play an advisory role as they prepare for this WBA interim title fight. Davies also confirmed that he will head over with the rest of the team a few weeks prior to the contest.
“I’ve been working with Eubank down the gym in Brighton since the DeGale fight in February,” confirmed Davies when speaking to Mike Legg of The Brighton Argus. “He will stay out there (the USA) now, especially as it is easier to get quality sparring partners.”
Floyd Mayweather may be deep into his retirement from boxing yet “Money” still tops the Forbes overall wealth list when it comes to professional boxers. In fact, Mayweather has a huge lead of George Foreman, who is worth a total of £233 million compared to Floyd’s £435 million haul. Former heavyweight world Champion Lennox Lewis still has £109 million to his name.
Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) is set to earn a massive amount of money for his rematch against WBA Super World, WBO World, IBF World and IBO holder Anthony Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 stoppages) in the Diriyah Arena on December 7.
The Saudis have put up around £33 million as a site fee, with TV money and other factors also to be included in the overall split. Joshua has cracked the top ten of the boxers on the list after already hauling in £43 million during his career and will add more to his swelling bank balance after this lucrative rematch.
Carl Frampton has predicted a win for Anthony Cacace (17-1, 7 KOs) when he meets Sam Bowen (15-0, 11 KOs) for the British Super featherweight title live on BT Sport at the Birmingham Arena on November 30. The two-weight world titlist have revealed that his former sparring partner is the hardest hitter he has faced.
“Anthony Cacace is the hardest person I have ever been hit by,” he said. “He has got freakish power. He whips his shots in and it’s frightening. Anto’ doesn’t have the KOs that his record should have but that is probably more to do with the way he fights. He fights a bit lazy. I fancy Anto’ but it is going to be a good fight. No, it’s going to be a great fight.”