Ryan Songalia

UK’s Taylor a battle-tested prospect

Unbeaten British lightweight prospect Ryan “Crash Bang” Taylor has had just eight bouts as a professional, but has already had “crash” course in dealing with adversity.

When Taylor, 24, of the Upminster section of London, England, turned pro in 2011, he was the first fighter to do so on the undercard of the popular British series The Prizefighter. Put in that spot by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, Taylor was ahead leading into the fourth before losing a point due to a headbutt and had to settle for a draw.

Then, in January of 2012, Taylor experienced his first trip to the canvas against journeyman Robin Deakin, getting dropped in the second round on a counter right before stopping Deakin in the third.

Now at 7-0-1 (3 knockouts), the hard-charging Taylor believes the hard knocks have taught him invaluable lessons.

“These experiences taught me a lot, you have to respect all fighters and not take nothing for granted,” said Taylor. “Regardless of records a lot of journeymen can fight.”

Taylor will test those experiences this Saturday when he faces Liam Shinkwin (5-0-1) at Wembley Arena in London in a ten-round bout for the vacant BBBofC Southern Area lightweight title. That show, presented by Matchroom, will be headlined by middleweight contender Darren Barker (24-1, 15 KOs), a gym mate of Taylor’s, against Simone Rotolo (35-3, 15 KOs), plus Lee Purdy (19-3-1, 12 KOs) against Cosme Rivera (35-15-3, 24 KOs) in a welterweight bout.

The card will be televised live by SkySports, beginning at 8 p.m. GMT. Taylor’s fight will not be televised.

Taylor’s journey to this point has been nomadic, beginning as an amateur in England, where he had 80 amateur bouts highlighted by a trip to the British Amateur Boxing Association Nationals finals.

In search of bigger game, Taylor booked a flight to New York. The move to New York came on a whim. Taylor, who had just completed his engineering apprenticeship at UK building services management company NG Bailey, had decided to act on the inspiration he received from the 1999 Golden Gloves documentary “On the Ropes”.

Once arriving in New York, Taylor rented a room in the Bronx and enrolled in the New York Daily News Golden Gloves. His first round draw would turn out to be a former Golden Gloves champion.

Taylor’s style, which is characterized by imposing his physical strength on opponents and banging them to the body, always seemed better suited for the pros. Still, Taylor managed to put a great deal of hurt on his opponent, before losing a close decision. Taylor returned to London shortly after and competed in Nationals before making the decision to turn pro.

Since the Deakin fight, Taylor has not lost a round, knocking out previously unbeaten Gyula Vajda in two rounds last September before stepping from the six round level to ten rounds and shutting out Kristian Dochev for the vacant International Masters lightweight title.

The Southern Area title is a domestic honor previously held by many of the top UK fighters, including Barker and Purdy. Taylor is hoping a win on Saturday night will eventually put him in company with them.

“There are many more great names that have held this title, names I want to be mentioned with,” said Taylor.

 

 

Photo / Scott Heavey-Getty Images

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