Josh Taylor faces 'terrific scrap' to win world title, says Barry McGuigan

Josh Taylor against Ryan Martin
Josh Taylor beat Ryan Martin in November's series quarter-final

Barry McGuigan says Josh Taylor will have "to be on the ball" against "dangerous" Ivan Baranchyk if the Scot is to win their world title bout.

The Belarusian puts his IBF super-lightweight title on the line against unbeaten Taylor in Glasgow on Saturday.

"Despite the fact we believe he didn't want to come to Scotland, he will fight very, very hard," promoter and former champion McGuigan told BBC Scotland.

"It's a terrific scrap and Josh will have to be at his very best."

The bout is the semi-final stage of the World Boxing Super Series that will decide the new undisputed world champion.

Top-rated American Regis Prograis, the WBC interim champion, awaits in the final after a sixth-round knock-out of another Belarusian, Kiryl Relikh, who relinquished his WBA world title.

Taylor, rated number two in the world, beat American Ryan Martin in his quarter-final, while 10th-ranked 25-year-old Baranchyk got the better of Sweden's Anthony Yigit.

Both of Saturday's protagonists stopped their previous opponents and McGuigan suggested that Baranchyk's claim that he will "beat up" Taylor "will go down like a knackered lift and certainly fire Josh up".

"He'll realise that he can't outbox Josh," he said. "I think he'll come at him."

For that reason, the Northern Irishman thought the 28-year-old will have to avoid being drawn into a scrap against an opponent who has experience of beating a southpaw in his previous fight.

"It's about being disciplined," McGuigan said. "He has to be cool and calm.

"Josh has to be on the ball from start to finish because this guy will be dangerous for the entire fight. What's important for me is that Josh keeps his head. I think it's best to make it a boxing match and he has to be cautious early on."

McGuigan reported that Taylor "is in great condition" - and better prepared than he was when taken 12 rounds by Viktor Postol last June in his fight before beating Martin.

"I don't think he was switched on for that fight," he added. "He had a few issues outside of the ring and wasn't as focused as normal. The early rounds weren't going his way either.

"When you can switch yourself on, and be able to turn it around against a world-class operator like Postol, that just shows you his capabilities. That was the fight that turned it around for him."

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