Scotland’s highly-rated contender Josh Taylor (14-0, 12 KO’s) has the chance to fulfil his lifelong dream of being crowned world champion this Saturday evening, as he takes on IBF super lightweight kingpin Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk (19-0, 12 KO’s) at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow.
The unbeaten pair face off live on Sky Sports, with the highly-anticipated world title showdown also serving as a World Boxing Super Series semi-final.
Taylor – known as ‘The Tartan Tornado’ – has built up a significant fan-base in his native Scotland, with a series of eye-catching wins against top-level opposition. The hard-hitting southpaw up-and-comer demonstrated both patience and maturity against the awkward Viktor Postol back in June, as he dropped the former world champion late on to claim a unanimous decision victory after twelve highly-competitive rounds.
The Scotsman jumped straight into the World Boxing Super Series from there, making light work of the then-unbeaten American Ryan Martin in their quarter-final contest back in November. Taylor landed at will at times during a punch-perfect performance, and though many felt the 7th round stoppage was somewhat premature, the bout had been one-way traffic from the first bell.
On Saturday evening, however, Taylor faces arguably the toughest test of his career against the Belarusian Baranchyk. Uncertainty loomed for months over whether the self-proclaimed ‘Beast’ would in fact continue his participation in the World Boxing Super Series, though background disputes have since been resolved – leaving the 26-year-old in-line to take on one of British boxing’s leading lights this weekend.
Baranchyk’s brute strength and sheer relentlessness proved to be far too much for Sweden’s Anthony Yigit during their World Boxing Super Series quarter-final meeting back in October. The Belarus native won close to every round before the fight was stopped at the end of the 7th round due to a horrific eye injury suffered by his opponent, meaning Baranchyk not only advanced to the semi-finals, but was also crowned IBF super lightweight champion of the world.
Saturday’s main event pitches the bullish Ivan Baranchyk against the slicker, rangier Josh Taylor. Though the bout is viewed by many fans as a classic boxer-versus-brawler match-up, Taylor has also demonstrated both his spiteful punching power and a much-needed ruthless nature in recent contests. Once the highly-rated pair settle into their rhythm on Saturday evening, this championship bout may well catch fire before an undoubtedly-electric Glaswegian crowd.
Elsewhere on the bill, pound-for-pound star and WBA world bantamweight ruler Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KO’s) attempts to unify against the undefeated IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KO’s), with a place in the World Boxing Super Series final also up for grabs.
The unification bout – which also has the vacant ‘Ring’ Magazine bantamweight title on the line – will be the heavy-handed Inoue’s first pro outing to take place in Europe, with many boxing purists clamouring to see one of the sport’s bona fide stars fighting on British shores in such a high-profile contest.
Article by: Ryan Elliott
Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RBE_73