By Jake Donovan
For as long as Josh Taylor has dreamt of winning a major title in the pro ranks, he barely had a moment to soak in the atmosphere before having to embrace the reality of what already lies ahead.
The unbeaten 2012 Olympian from Scotland was pushed to the limit in a competitive but clear 12-round decision win over Ivan Baranchyk to a claim a portion of the 140-pound crown. The feat came in front of a raucous local crowd Saturday evening at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.
“It’s a dream come true (to hear) '...and the new!’. It’s brilliant,” Taylor (15-0, 12KOs) said of the win, which came in the semifinals round of the World Boxing Super Series. “I can’t believe it.
“I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long. I’m over the moon. The noise (those in attendance) made, thank you every single one of you.”
The bout was Taylor’s fourth straight at the venue, and ninth overall in his home country of Scotland where he remains a popular attraction. Under normal circumstances, the 28-year old would be able to savor the moment, take some time off and then perhaps even pick and choose his next assignment.
Instead, the celebration lasted mere minutes before being reminded of what’s next.
Like Taylor, Regis Prograis entered the WBSS tournament as an unbeaten contender who has since claimed divisional hardware. The New Orleans-bred boxer stormed into the finals with a 6th round knockout of Kiryl Relikh to win his title in late April and still looks fighting fit three weeks later as he joined Taylor in the ring to begin promoting their forthcoming clash.
Neither a date nor location has been established for the fight, but oddsmakers have already placed Prograis (24-0, 20KOs) as a 2/1 betting favorite. Both combatants seem to believe the actual fight will be much closer than that.
“This is what it’s all about, the best fighting the best,” Prograis said, speaking both to their upcoming matchup as well as the one which just took place. “I felt like I was going to fight him, he felt like he was going to fight me. Now it’s going to happen and I can’t wait.”
Despite not being afforded a full victory lap, the newly crowned titlist from Scotland has already moved past the biggest win of his career with visions of trumping Saturday’s feat.
“I feel I’m the best, he feels he’s the best,” Taylor acknowledged of his next opponent. “We both did the job (to advance in the tournament finals). I feel I’ll win the fight quite comfortable, I’m sure he believes the same.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox