Meet Reiss Taylor, the boxer challenging perceptions about height in his sport

“If you're shorter, you just have to go and work on the inside more, and just try twice as hard,” he said.

Boxing is a brutal sport at the best of times, so imagine stepping into the ring as a short athlete.

That’s the reality for Reiss ‘Showy’ Taylor, who, at 4ft 11in, believes himself to be the shortest boxer in Britain.

“I’m 4ft 11in so I believe I’m definitely the shortest boxer in Britain,” Taylor told the Press Association.

“I haven’t got a big amateur background, but with the right team behind me I feel like I can go far.”

Taylor boxes in the super-flyweight division and has five professional bouts under his belt, but for a while it looked as though he might go down a different path: football.

“I started off when I was eight years old playing for Aston Villa until I was 16. I got released and went to a few different teams afterwards on trial but it didn’t work out,” said Taylor.

“After that I pursued boxing at the age of 20 and fell in love with the sport.”

Taylor only had 12 amateur fights before turning pro, but experienced success in those bouts. The boxer, who is also vegan, has won two of his five pro bouts so far, and he takes inspiration from one of the all-time greats of the sport.

“If you’re shorter, you just have to go and work on the inside more, and just try twice as hard,” he said.

“(Mike) Tyson was shorter than other heavyweights but he used it to his advantage. He used to bob and weave, come on the inside and use his upper cuts and his body shots. Mike Tyson’s definitely one of my inspirations.”

Former heavyweight champion Tyson reportedly came in at just under 6ft tall, and finished with a career record of 50 wins and six defeats.

Such a record proves height isn’t everything in a sport which Taylor says is more fair than others in some regards.

“Boxing doesn’t pigeon hole you about your height,” he said.

“If you want to fight, and you can fight, they’ll give you your opportunity, whereas with football it’s more who you know and if they want to pick you.”

The 27-year-old will be fighting again soon but nothing official has yet been announced.

Whoever does step into the ring with him, however, would do well not to underestimate him on account of his height. Showy packs a punch and that’s all that matters in this game.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access