Joy of six for Taylor

Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor

First published in National Sport News © by

Lochend lightweight Josh Taylor has become the sixth Great Britain boxer to confirm his place at the London Olympics after reaching the semi-finals of the final European qualifying event in Trabzon.

Taylor's 17-9 win over Armenia's Vladimir Sarukhanyan, coupled with defeat for England's Sam Maxwell against home favourite Fatih Keles, means Taylor has booked the solitary 60kg berth. Taylor joins the already-qualified Andrew Selby, Luke Campbell, Tom Stalker, Fred Evans and Anthony Joshua

Taylor also becomes the first Scottish lightweight to go to the Games since the legendary Dick McTaggart, who won a gold medal in Melbourne in 1956 and a bronze four years later in Rome.

McTaggart told Press Association Sport: "Josh first caught my eye as a youngster and I am delighted he has made it into the team, because Scotland hasn't had a boxer go to the Games for so long.

"Josh is a southpaw like me and he stands a good chance of winning a medal. My advice to him is to go there as fit and healthy as he can possibly be, and to enjoy every minute of the experience."

Taylor's long-time coach at Lochend, Terry McCormack, said: "It is an absolutely fantastic achievement. He tried to qualify at light-welterweight to start with but we moved him down to lightweight and there has been no stopping him. He is big at the weight, he can really punch and as a southpaw he must be a nightmare to fight.

"It is amazing to get a Scottish boxer into the team for the London Olympics. Boxing has come a long way since Dick McTaggart but there is no reason why Josh cannot go on to reach the same kind of level."

Anthony Ogogo and Callum Smith will box for Olympic qualifying places on Friday after successfully negotiating their respective quarter-finals.

Ogogo pulled off a spectacular recovery to beat Jaba Khositashvili of Georgia on countback after a 14-14 draw, having started the last round six points behind his opponent. Liverpool youngster Smith, making his senior debut at light-heavyweight, continued to impress as he scored a convincing 16-6 win over accomplished Hungarian Imre Szello.

But there was heartbreak for Sunderland's Warren Baister, who was beaten 19-5 by Bulgaria's Tervel Pulev. Baister's defeat means Great Britain will not have a heavyweight at the Games.

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