World Boxing Super Series: Support Josh Taylor's rise to the top at a great price
Following on from Callum Smith's success at WBSS super middleweights, boxing columnist Frankie Monkhouse picks out another Brit worth backing in this year's super lightweight series...
"The man to carry our stake through the WBSS super lightweights – hopefully all the way to the title – is Scottish sensation Josh Taylor, currently trading at 11/8 on the Sportsbook"
The World Boxing Super Series has proven a massive hit with both boxing fans and fighters and its little wonder with some of the sport's most talented, ambitious and forward-thinking names putting record and reputation on the line in an attempt to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and prize money that accompanies it.
Last year we saw some fantastic outings from the fast-rising tournament, but none quite as memorable as the super middleweight episode that gave us George Groves v Chris Eubank Jnr and, eventually, Callum Smith's win over Saint George in what was a thrilling final fought out in Saudi Arabia back in September.
The competition was made all the more special for followers of this column as Smith was marked out as our boxing bet of the year 12 months ago, and at a nice price too, Groves and Eubank deemed more likely winners by the market at the time.
Taylor carries our support
We're now into the thick of what has already been a stunning super lightweight series and there appears to be another bet well worth backing early, before the value is eaten up. We won't go as far as January 2018 and call it bet of the year - that goes to James DeGale to beat Chris Eubank Jnr at 11/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook - but we do go in with confidence.
The man to carry our stake through the WBSS super lightweights - hopefully all the way to the title - is Scottish sensation Josh Taylor, currently trading at 11/8 on the Sportsbook.
The 28-year-old from Edinburgh won a clutch of honours in the amateur vest, including Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow 2014, silver Delhi 2010 and silver at the Youth Games in Pune 2008. Since moving into professional boxing, he has carried his success with him and currently stands with a record of 14 wins from as many starts, a dozen of those victories coming inside the distance.
Rising through the ranks
The Tartan Tornado made his paid bow back in the summer of 2015 and quickly rose through the ranks, rhyming off a string of eye-catching wins. The best of his early career came when defeating a fellow unbeaten opponent in Londoner Ohara Davies at the Braehead Arena, defending his Commonwealth title and adding a WBC Silver in the process.
He continued improving on the back of that and gave his best performance when outpointing respected Ukrainian Viktor Postol, a man who, at the time, had lost only to pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford on points at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.
That result paved the way for organisers to include talented southpaw Taylor in the World Boxing Super Series super lightweights and it was a move that proved to be shrewd, the 5ft 10inch fighting pride of Prestonpans getting off to a winning start.
Taylor was near perfect
Opponent Ryan Martin travelled to Scotland from his Ohio base with a proud record reading 22-0-0. An unbeaten man with ambitions of winning the trophy and launching his career, it all came to nothing as the home town hero dealt out a seventh round TKO defeat.
The performance in front of his own fans was as near perfect as you'd see from a man who now has just 14 bouts under his belt, but he promised there was plenty more to come and, having followed his rise to the top, it's difficult to argue.
As well as securing a place in the semi-final, Josh Taylor also earned a shot at Ivan Baranchyk (19-0-0) and his IBF world title. Another step up in class, another undefeated opponent, but another bout he should win and the chance to land a version of the world title will inspire another big performance.
Prograis worth opposing
The finer details are still to be put to that semi-final match-up, including date and venue, but supporters can get in early and back Taylor to win the Super Series outright at 11/8. The Scotsman is 1/4 to beat Baranchyk, against the 11/4 of his opponent.
The current WBSS betting has 23-0-0 American Regis Prograis as even money favourite, Josh Taylor second in line, ahead of Baranchyk 7/1 and outsider Kiryl Relikh, who has been drawn against the jolly, at a bulky 10/1.