IVAN Baranchyk has been studious since arriving in Glasgow this week not to give any hint of being anything other than delighted about having to stage the first defence of his IBF world super lightweight title on Josh Taylor’s home turf of the SSE Hydro. Instead, his illustrious new trainer Freddie Roach last night took offence on his behalf.

The illustrious Californian-based trainer of Manny Pacquiao and others has an old-school way of looking at things, and still finds it strange that the big bucks of the World Boxing Super Series can force the champion, not the challenger, to go on the road. “Is Ivan privately pissed off?” said Roach. “No, that’s me. Honestly, I have never seen a tournament like this where someone gets to fight at their hometown.”

Part of Steve Collins’ entourage when the self-styled ‘Celtic Warrior’ wore a kilt to curry favour with the home crowd as he knocked out Craig Cummings of the USA at the Kelvin Hall, Roach knows every trick in the books when it comes to winning over a hostile crowd and believes that the Belarusian can win over 6,000-plus tanked-up, patriotic Scots on Saturday night. Best of luck with that one.

“It should be neutral, but it is what it is,” he added. “But I’ve been to Scotland before. It is a great crowd here and they are real boxing fans, whoever goes out and fights a good fight, they are going to be on his side. They are very knowledgeable, they know the game very well, and when they see what we can do, I think they will be on his side. I think we can win the crowd over, I really do.”

Roach has only had eight weeks to work with the Belarusian, which is pushing it when it comes to knowing his fighter intimately and imparting his wisdom. With Baranchyk’s management threatening to pull out of the WBSS, at one stage Roach was also convinced at one point the fight wouldn’t go ahead. But like the wily old stager he is, Roach kept his man keen just in case. Not only does he claim the Belarusian didn’t miss a single day of training, he boasts that he has him ‘brain washed’ that nothing can stop him on Saturday.

“I feel like Ivan will be still be the world champion after Saturday night, but we will see when we get together on the night,” said Roach. “I feel he has a lot of potential. This is our first fight together, and it is a relatively short time we have had together but we have done a lot of good work and a lot of good sparring.

“We prepared the best we could,” he added. “We know we have done that pretty well now. Every day, seven days a week, we were in there. He is one of those guys who doesn’t take any days off.

“I honestly thought it was cancelled at one point but we never stopped training because you never know – we never missed a day. It can be dangerous but we never let that get to us. We heard about it, that it might be, might be, might be, but we never acted on it.

“I remember once with Stevie Collins, the fight was cancelled and they flew me all the way back home, then as soon as I got to the airport, they said I had to get back over, the fight is back on. So the things is, I know that people talk, but we knew this fight was going to happen. We never took it any other way.”

One thing is for sure, Roach will have a game plan all worked out come Saturday night – whether Baranchyk is capable of seeing it through or not. He can’t fail to be impressed by the Tartan Tornado, and acknowledges his man’s height and reach advantage. But he feels that having to produce in front of his hometown crowd can work against him too.

“I think we are the better puncher of the two, Josh is maybe a bit the better boxer. But we have the bigger hitter in there, and we are going to show that in the fight. But we are going to take his height advantage away. You’ll see.”

“Josh is a very good fighter,” said Roach. “He has the height advantage and the reach advantage. We do have ways to take that away of course, by getting in closer and so forth. But our guy is going to be ready for this fight. Josh is a very good fighter, he has a great counter hook over the jab on the southpaw side, he does that really well. But we have been working on how to counter that every day, how to make that miss. We have a great game plan down and if he pulls it off correctly he will win.

“I have seen pretty much everything there i in terms of fight style. Yes Josh is very good at what he does but I love being the underdog. I love being the guy who comes in front of the crowd and doesn’t have anyone asking him for tickets, you know. Josh has his whole family who wants to go to the fight, his friends from school. He has a lot more pressure on him than we do.

“I love being the underdog. The louder we get booed, the better off we will be. I have my fighter brainwashed right now.”