Boxing: Taylor aims to bring belt ‘home’ to Leeds

Ryan Taylor.
Ryan Taylor.
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AS An amateur, Ryan ‘Crash Bang’ Taylor flew the flag for London in becoming a rare winner of the Yorkshire Senior ABAs from the capital.

Two years on, the roles are being reversed with the now professional boxer out to take the Southern Area lightweight title back to Leeds this evening.

Taylor, 25, will take on Portsmouth fighter Floyd ‘Pac Man’ Moore at the ExCel Centre in a bout screened live on Sky Sports. And from there it will eventually be back to Yorkshire where Taylor began a love-affair with Leeds in 2007.

After becoming an apprentice building services engineer for Yorkshire firm Bailey, Taylor was sent on block release to college in Leeds where the talented amateur met current coach Martin Williams and also West Leeds ABC chief Danny Thornton. It was Thornton who guided the Londoner to the 2011 Yorkshire ABA light-welterweight crown. Yet as a professional, Taylor is now based at Nastys Gym with Williams who he hopes to reward with a Southern Area title this evening – two years on from winning his Yorkshire ABA crown.

Upminster provides the location for Taylor’s family home alongside mum Denise, dad Derek and 21-year-old sister Hannah. Yet ever since 2007, Yorkshire and Leeds has also been a home from home.

“I first started coming up here as an 18-year-old, going on block release as college was up here,” Taylor told the YEP.

“But I couldn’t come up and not train and I ended up finding a gym that Martin trained and coached at the time. Ever since then we have become really close and good friends and he has always helped me out.

“When I first turned pro two years ago I was with my trainer in London but I decided that I wanted to change and that I wanted to work with Martin. He knows me well – we get on well and he’s the man for me. It was a tough decision to commit to coming up to Leeds all the time but you’ve got to go with where you think you are going to be the most happy.”

Taylor has decided that for him that means staying in Leeds and it’s not just the boxing he enjoys.

“I just find it such a good community up here,” said Taylor, who after his apprenticeship spent six months living in America where he competed in the New York Golden Gloves, after which he turned pro.

“Everything is within walking in distance in Leeds whereas in London you have got to get tubes and trains and taxis. Here, I am in the city centre and it’s a good community and good people. I love Leeds.”

Just as Leeds will love Taylor even more if he bags the Southern Area title tonight and of doing that there is every chance. Since turning pro, the International Box-Cup Gold medallist has had 11 fights with one of only two defeats coming when initially bidding to win the Southern Area title back in May. Taylor, promoted by Barry Hearn, was edged out at Wembley by London’s Liam Shinkwin who has since vacated the belt leaving Taylor and Portsmouth’s Moore to do battle. The Nastys Gym ace – who also holds the Lightweight International Masters title – is full of respect for tonight’s opponent but the boxer has designs on belts bigger than the Southern Area one. And if all goes to plan, he already knows when his Yorkshire leg of celebrations will take place.

“It’s one fight at a time but after this I’d like to maybe push on for the English or British title maybe,” said Taylor.

“But right now the southern area title is the most important title and that would put me in good stead for the English or British.”

Asked where he would celebrate his latest triumph, Taylor pondered: “I’m definitely going back to Leeds a week later because there’s a big show on at the First Direct Arena next Saturday.

“Hopefully I can be celebrating there as the Arena is literally two minutes from where I live!”

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