This weekend sees Channel 5’s latest collaboration with Cyclone Promotions. Any boxing on terrestrial TV is good news for us, and we mean ANY boxing, so to have a Commonwealth title clash between two undefeated boxers is fine by us.
The show, entitled ‘Bad Blood’ sees Edinburgh boxer Josh “Tartan Tornado” Taylor (9-0) defend his strap against Ohara “Two Tanks” Davies (15-0), whose own WBC Silver title is also on the line. With an 85% knockout rate between the pair, this promises to be a cracker, even if Londoner Davies has played down the alliterate tagline.
In fact, he’s played down the whole thing. The team at Cyclone were visibly and audibly frustrated that Davies had seemingly refused to play ball in hyping the domestic dust up with his usual vigour and brash attitude. OD is known, particularly on social media, for calling out other boxers and his polarising personality. This was certainly not the case at the opening press conference. Since then he has resumed his antics on Twitter and insulted both Taylor and his trainer, Shane McGuigan.
There are rumours that as this show isn’t a Matchroom bill, who promote Davies, he has been instructed to rein in his behaviour in order to reduce interest in the show. A little petty and baffling, if true, as surely Davies would benefit from this being seen by as wide an audience as possible, if he emerges victorious. Then again, with a rumoured set six figure purse in the bank, Davies probably has very little motivation to do any more than he has to, outside of his own preparation.
Regardless of the politics and sniping, this bout is going ahead and we should be very glad it is. There is an always an intrigue when somebody’s 0 has to go and this is no different. While Davies has more professional experience, there is truthfully little to split between there records. In fact, despite having 6 fewer bouts on his ledger, it is probably Taylor who boasts the best win. A stoppage win over the tough Dave Ryan ranks higher than anything on his opponent’s record and the Commonwealth title is more prestigious than a secondary WBC trinket.
Ohara Davies is not to be underestimated, however. He made short work of, an admittedly past his best, Derry Mathews last time out and possesses big power, as evidenced by his 12 stoppages from 15 wins. He has vast experience in his corner in the form of Tony Sims and has trained alongside former world champion Ricky Burns, among others. It will be interesting to see how aggressive he boxes on Saturday, as he has shown a preference for a patient counter punching approach.
Taylor on the other hand has looked keen to land the fight ending shots at every given opportunity. In his defence, he has found them in all but one of his contests to date. A tough points win out in Las Vegas on the undercard of stablemate, Carl Frampton. His rapid rise through the pro ranks is credit to his outstanding amateur grounding. Before turning professional, Taylor claimed gold in the Commonwealth Games back in 2014. This more rounded boxing beginning, saw me initially pick Taylor to win comfortably before considering Ohara more carefully.
Prediction: While I have given more credence to an Ohara Davies win in recent weeks, I’m sticking with my original prediction. If, and this could be a big if, Taylor can keep his cool and not get over enthused by his home crowd, he possesses the skill to outbox Davies and the power to break him down. However, I feel that Davies will remain calm and patient, and prove a very awkward opponent for the Tartan Tornado. I think that Taylor must not underestimate the power of Davies or get dragged into a shootout. If he sticks to his boxing and uses his footwork well, he should do enough to win a close but unanimous decision.