Josh Taylor laughed off attempts by the trainer of opponent Dave Ryan to “ruffle his feathers” during a feisty press conference ahead of their Commonwealth super-lightweight title fight.
The credentials of Taylor, one of Scotland’s Commonwealth Games gold medal heroes, were put firmly into question by Clifton Mitchell.
The Prestonpans boxer takes on 33-year-old former champion Ryan for the belt after only six professional fights and nine rounds.
Mitchell claimed Taylor had only fought “bums” so far and that his promoter, Barry McGuigan, had “chucked him in at the deep end and he’s going to get drowned”.
McGuigan momentarily lost his composure during the diatribe, calling Mitchell a “clown”, before the Derby-based promoter and trainer hurled a series of hushed insults at the former world champion.
Taylor largely kept his cool, only responding when Mitchell claimed his fighter would “pull his arms and legs off”, by saying: “Are you the one fighting? Well, shut it then.”
And the 25-year-old later warned the tactics would not veer him off course at Meadowbank Arena on Friday night.
Taylor said: “I expected that from his manager, Clifton Mitchell. Everytime I’ve seen him involved in fights with Dave Ryan, he is the one that’s doing the talking and the shouting and the barking.
“It doesn’t bother me, I think he was trying to ruffle a few feathers and get under my skin but I just laugh it off and take it with a pinch of salt.
“He’s trying to wind me up and get me involved and out my game plan, get me angry. But it’s not working one bit.
“Let him say what he’s got to say, he is not the one who’s going to fight.
“I have respect for Dave, he’s a good opponent, he is not trash-talking. So I’m going to keep it respectful as well, but come Friday when that first bell goes all respect goes out the window.”
Mitchell claimed Taylor’s camp were over-confident but the Scot believes he will vindicate their faith.
“I’ve watched a lot of Dave Ryan and I see loads in his game that I can expose,” he said. “I am too fast for him, I’m too sharp for him, I have better boxing ability, and when he wants to stand and fight, I will fight.
“It is definitely going to be a tough fight and there are times it’s going to get gritty. He is going to have successful times in the fight as well but ultimately it’s going to be me that comes out on top.”
Ryan has enjoyed wins over former European champion Paul McCloskey and current British title holder Tyrone Nurse in recent years and twice beat John Wayne Hibbert before losing the Commonwealth title to the same opponent in controversial circumstances. The Derby fighter retired through injury in the 10th round after claiming he was the victim of an illegal kidney punch.
And Ryan feels his experience will tell.
“I believe he is going to make it high up there one day,” Ryan said. “I think it’s just too soon for him and I’m here to spoil the party.
“A few people have written me off already but I feel as though I’m at the peak of my career. People write people off, I mean I’m 33 years old, so people are going to say I’m on my way down, but I don’t believe I am.”