by Shaun Brown
Barry McGuigan says both Josh Taylor (12-0, 11 KOs) and Lee McGregor (3-0, 3 KOs) are going to lead a revolution in Scottish boxing.
The pair return to action this Saturday night at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, live on Channel 5 with one - in the biggest fight of his career against Viktor Postol - and the other who will continue his apprenticeship with his fourth fight.
Josh Taylor vs. Viktor Postol, a WBC super lightweight final eliminator, is undoubtedly a gamble by McGugian and the team at Cyclone Promotions. But that gamble is simply a reflection in the sheer confidence that they have in the 27-year-old Scot.
Taylor, who made his professional bow, in America, three years ago has made the transition look simple.The likes of Dave Ryan (Taylor's sixth fight), Ohara Davies (ninth) and Miguel Vazquez (tenth) were all examples of perfect matchmaking at the right time.
McGuigan hasn't been surprised by the rapid rise of 'The Tartan Tornado' who stands on the cusp of a world title fight.
"We watched him sparring (the likes of) Shawn Porter and Argenis Mendez. We watched him sparring big welterweights over here. Also sparring big middleweights, light middleweights and coping with all of those styles very well. You get a sense as an ex-fighter. Looking at the way he was adapting, the things he was doing in the gym, the pads in sparring, it didn't worry me at all that we moved him aggressively as possible," the former WBA featherweight champion told Boxing Scene.
"Had Terence Crawford stayed around in the light welterweight division I would've have given ourselves a little bit more time. But right now he's ready to fight any of the light welterweights in the world. Any of them. And we're not worried about any of them. None of them concern me at all."
The 140lbs division is in need of a star or two to drag it out of its quiet spell, and that's what the likes of Taylor and American Regis Prograis look capable of doing. Throw in the newly crowned WBO champion Maurice Hooker, WBC champion Jose Ramirez and dark horses like Jack Catterall and Ivan Baranchyk, and the 10st weight class looks like it is going to burst into life. And that explosion may come in the form of the World Boxing Super Series, who in year two of their 'Champions League of Boxing' are heavily rumoured to be putting together a 140lbs tournament alongside the confirmed bantamweight event.
"Don't want to even go there. We're concentrating on Postol and getting (Jose) Ramirez," said McGuigan sharply when briefly quizzed on the matter.
And full concentration must be paid to Postol (29-1, 12 KOs) and the threat he brings. Taylor goes in as a strong odds-on favourite, and anyone who watched Postol's last performance, last year, against Jamshidbek Najmiddinov would know why. The odd bad night at the office comes knocking on everyone's door. But at 34, Postol might be there for the taking. McGuigan doesn't believe Taylor will have any trouble coping with the Ukrainian or his style. Again, evidence of the overwhelming belief he has in the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist to not just win a world title, but to go and be a boxing superstar.
"I 100% believe Josh will win this fight, no matter whether it's a long fight. Whether it's explosive and over in half the fight, whether it drags to 12 rounds it doesn't matter. He's covered every angle in training.
"You gotta be switched on (against Postol). I don't think this is gonna cause Josh any more problems than anyone else has caused him, I really don't. He's very good with the amateur style.
"We've brought in a lot of tall upright boxers both orthodox and southpaw (for sparring). I really, genuinely think Taylor will be at his best in this fight. I think the clash of styles will make for a good fight and I think he'll be able to adapt to his style of fighting."
On the undercard fans will see fellow Scot, and Cyclone Promotions promoted bantamweight prospect, Lee McGregor on the card. The 21-year-old takes on the fantastically named Goodluck Mrema (22-2, 12 KOs) on the night with the IBF world youth bantamweight title on the line.
Barry McGuigan's enthusiasm for McGregor was bubbling over when 'Scene spoke to him. If his confidence in Taylor is sky-high then his of McGregor has hit the moon and isn't coming back down any time soon.
"I'm so excited about this kid," he began.
"I'm telling you this kid can fight! He can fight! The one thing is he likes to fight too much. And he's very clever, he's a very bright kid. We've been getting him to come down a bit, sit down on his shots.
"The stuff (trainer) Shane (McGuigan) is doing with him is phenomenal. Honestly, this kid can punch like a welterweight. You wanna see this kid in the gym. He's really hurting sparring partners much bigger than him. And he's a terrific fighter. I keep saying to him 'Just simmer down, calm down, you don't need to fight. All you gotta do is use these long levers you've got.'
"I'm telling you right now, (WBA bantamweight champion) Ryan Burnett and the rest of those guys -- they better be watching their back, because this kid is coming through and he is going to be going at a ferocious rate. This kid is a world champion in the making. People say 'Oh yeah, it's easy to exaggerate'. I'm telling you, this kid is special. Really special. And he's as hungry as they come. So driven, so determined.
"Both Taylor and McGregor are going to spearhead a big revolution in boxing in Scotland. Those two guys are going to be superstars. I'm not exaggerating. Those two guys are going to be very, very special."
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0