For most boxers in the modern era, professional life generally begins with easier opposition. Gone are the days of a young, fresh-faced Muhammad Ali felling Sonny Liston, who many believed could, and would, kill Ali outright in their first clash. Instead, today’s brightest talents have the opportunity to build a winning streak into double figures before taking on some genuinely dangerous opposition.
It is, then, a testament to the faith placed in Bad Blood’s headline fighters that they face each other so soon in their respective careers.
Tale of the Tape
Between them, Ohara Davies and Josh Taylor have fought (and won) just twenty-four times, with a total of twenty knockouts. Youthful and raw as they are, neither fighter will look towards any particular strategy. Both possess the stamina to engage in a slugfest and throw caution to the winds, potentially making this fight one of the most entertaining to be held in Britain this year.
For his part, Davies will be travelling to Scotland as the thrusting, confident fighter from Hackney. Another English athlete who overcame a life on Hackney estates, the adversity he will face from a hostile Scottish crowd pales in comparison to the company he knows he would have kept, had he not shown the inner strength and determination to make it as a pro boxer.
In his most recent outing, Davies stopped Derry Matthews – a now-retired journeyman – in the third round. For Davies, it was never going to be a particularly difficult first defence of the WBC Silver super-lightweight title he won after beating Andrea Scarpa (via unanimous decision) in November last year.
Davies and Taylor face the glare of the cameras and try to keep restrained.
Josh Taylor, the Scotsman, will also face a hot reception from a crowd which should have a strong Glaswegian contingent. Though raised in the outskirts of Edinburgh, his proximity to Glasgow’s long-running rival city will be enough for the more ardent Glaswegians in the crowd on fight night. Nonetheless, with some parts of Scotland still politically opposed to British political agendas, one can only foresee the crowd heavily favouring Taylor.
Taylor’s most recent bout was a six-round victory over South Africa’s Warren Joubert in Edinburgh. It was another addition to his collection of knockouts, but Taylor will be hugely frustrated by the fact that he does not boast a perfect win-to-knockout ratio ahead of his clash with Davies. In his eighth fight of nine to date, he was taken the distance (eight rounds) by Mexican fighter Alfonso Olvera in the illustrious surroundings of the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Though Taylor endured the relative disappointment of a victory by unanimous decision, it was a real watershed moment for the Scot, who realised that he had the longevity as well as the punching power to become a success.
Taylor is unbeaten in his first nine professional fights, and is considered a marginal favourite to beat Davies on July 8.
Betting Markets and Co-feature
There is little to separate the two fighters, and everything to play for, which makes a free bet and no deposit offer a good companion to any bets placed on this fight. Neither has tasted defeat, nor found himself unduly troubled by an opponent. With home advantage, a higher knockout rate and a slightly better reach, Taylor is unanimously seen as a favourite, but the ‘Tartan Tornado’ will underestimate Davies at his peril. If possible, backing a decision win for Taylor may be the wisest option.
In the other fight of the evening, Jason Easton and Steve Jamoye go toe to toe for the vacant IBO Inter-Continental super lightweight title. Easton, like fellow countryman Taylor, will approach this bout undefeated in nine fights. His confidence will have been greatly boosted by a stoppage of Zoltan Szabo back in March.
Easton’s Belgian opponent, Steve Jamoye, boasts a record of twenty-two wins and three losses. Impressive wins over Jean Pierre Bauwens and Farid Hakimi have made Jamoye’s stock soar. Again, the home fighter is considered favourite amongst bookmakers, but it will be an evening full of twists and turns. Nothing can be taken for granted as Scotland prepares for what will be another great night of pugilistic action, with the country’s brightest young talents showing exactly what they are made of.