In a three-fight sequence over the next 12 months, Josh Taylor has the opportunity to really make his name.
Taylor debuts in the super lightweight World Boxing Super Series on Saturday night against unbeaten American Ryan Martin.
Victory in Glasgow sees the winner progress to the semi-finals — where Ivan Baranchyk awaits, with his IBF title on the line.
The winner of that fight meets either Regis Prograis, who outpointed Manchester’s Terry Flanagan last week, or WBA champion Kiryl Relikh for the Muhammad Ali trophy.
So this is the biggest test in Taylor’s short, 13-fight career. Same for Martin.
I had not even fought for the British featherweight title at the same stage, let alone faced off for a shot at a world title.
But these are very different times.
The structure of the sport does not allow prospects to learn their trade by increments fighting monthly at small hall shows. These days, you do your work in the gym and learn on the job.
But Taylor is ready.
Since winning the Commonwealth title two years ago, in only his seventh bout, the demand has steadily increased.
His defence against Ohara Davies last year marked a real step up. Viktor Postol, who had lost previously only to the exceptional Terence Crawford, was another tough opponent last time out.
We have not given Taylor an easy path.
That has always been the policy.
We believe we have a special talent on our hands. This tournament offers Taylor the opportunity to show that.
It’s not good for boxers, or the sport, when fighters hide behind their record taking easy opponents all the time.
You don’t learn that way. At some stage you are going to meet someone who can really put it to you and you have to have the cajones to deal with that.
Some people thought Taylor was going to get knocked out against Davies. Taylor stopped him. And after a tough start, he stepped up brilliantly in the championship rounds to see off Postol.
Martin won several national titles at lightweight.
He moved up to super lightweight in March to despatch Luis Eduardo Florez and beat Breidis Prescott in May.
He’s quick, has fast hands, is unbeaten in 22 and comes full of confidence.
Taylor is strong at the weight, has good power, tremendous speed, a great chin and superb adaptability. He’s at home and is used to the big occasion.
It’s all there for him.
He just has to get it done.
And you can see it all, free to air, on the World Boxing Super Series’ YouTube channel.
Follow Barry on Twitter
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