Ryan Taylor talks to me exclusively about his boxing journey so far
21st December 2016
By Neel Khagram
Sportsman are often defined by two words; winning and losing. Perhaps there is no other activity where this is exemplified more than in boxing. A defeat often results in periods of re-building and disdains a fighter’s commercial value. However, to simply judge Ryan Taylor on his professional record of 11 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses would unfairly dismiss his journey both in and out of the ring.
The 28 year old from Upminster has been a fighter from a young age. Having earned his karate black belt at 10, Taylor ditched the white robe for a pair of gloves after “getting aggressive and disqualified a couple of times” in contests as his output started to reflect his personality.
Taylor joined Newham Amateur Boxing Club at 12 and went on to box for Haringey, Leeds and in New York. In total he had 78 contests, winning national and area titles and boxed for England. Unsurprisingly a lot of his victories came via stoppage given his combative persona, hence earning the nickname ‘Crash Bang’ from long-time friend and mentor Frank Greaves.
When asked about his standout moment in the unpaid ranks, Taylor’s answer of “just fighting and beating good boys” highlighted his modesty and the fighter inside him. It was the ability to perform his craft which gave him greatest satisfaction, as opposed to any external recognition.
Taylor’s time in the New York Golden Gloves is also an example of this. Inspired by the documentary ‘On The Ropes’ which was set around the tournament, the Londoner packed his bags at the age of 20 and made the trip with the help of a local friend,
“You had to be a New York resident to box in the tournament, but my pal who lived in the Bronx signed all my papers and I got in. I was there for six months and trained by former world champion Aaron Davis. I fought a big name out there and it was known I was an Englishman from my medical card and I went out there to knock him out. It was such a good fight but they gave him the decision and I got a round of applause. It was a great experience.”
The professional game seemed the natural progression thereafter but the subsequent years brought great frustration. Taylor drew his debut on a Matchroom promotions card after head butting his opponent as the aggressor within got the better of him again. Looking back at this moment, Taylor commented how it was a “disaster” but cheekily acknowledged,“if I was calm and relaxed I would probably have boxed and moved a lot more but I’m not and just go for it.”
An unbeaten run then followed before a troubled 2013 saw him suffer 3 defeats in 4 outings. This prompted Taylor to take up full time employment whilst continuing his boxing career in parallel, accepting that he was “capable of so much more” in life.
Since this transition, Taylor has endured further ups and down in his boxing career including more defeats and a 9 month layoff due to an eye injury. The enforced break brought a period of reflection though. He admits to being “angry at a few decisions” made throughout his career but refused to blame anyone apart from himself, nonchalantly accepting that “the more you love it the more it hates you.”
Taylor made his return from injury this October with a stoppage victory in Bolton. Whilst many might question his motivation to continue in the “hurt business”, Taylor’s summation of boxing being his “life” put our whole conversation into context. He is a warrior who embodies the purity of the sport in the ring, and channels his pugilistic spirit in areas of his own personal development at work. Taylor’s career must therefore be commended as an example of drive and determination to others, as he now looks to kick on in the next phase of his fighting life.