Lockport’s “Son of a Legend” Joe Taylor Signs Professional MMA Contract
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Ever since his unprecedented start in combat sports three years ago, Lockport’s Joe Taylor has always been devoted to his hometown and community.
The son of the late local boxing legend Johnny Taylor, Joe never followed in his father’s footsteps during his lifetime, although the elder Taylor always dreamed of having his son compete.
Johnny Taylor made a comeback in the late 1990s as a boxing coach at the famous downtown Abdallah’s KO Kickboxing and Boxing Club, owned by Amer Abdallah.
“I remember back in 1998 when Johnny was one of our coaches, he would always tell me how he wished Joe would fight. But Joe, being as independent as he was, had a different lifestyle back then,” Abdallah said.
“Joe doesn’t remember this, but the first time he came into the gym, Johnny introduced him to me. I shook his hand and was amazed at the brute strength and grip of his handshake, being so young. I’ve had my eyes on him ever since that day.”
That day is now, as we fast forward 15 years, as Joe decided has to fulfill the hopes and dreams his late father had for him.
Taylor made it official recently when he flew out to the Lace Up Promotions head office in Las Vegas to meet with his longtime friend and advisor Abdallah. Taylor will compete for the first time as a professional on May 14 at the Kenan Center Arena on a fight card that features Abdallah’s WKA Cruiserweight World Championship bout against England’s Daniel Hughes as the main event.
“I always knew one day, I would sign with Lace Up Promotions,” Taylor said. “When it comes to trusting someone, you either do or you don’t. I just want to fight, make money and become a world champion. I’m honored to be on the team and thank everyone that supports my dream.”
While in Las Vegas, Taylor was welcomed to the Lace-Up team and congratulated at the Mayweather Boxing Club by Dewey Cooper and other members of Abdallah’s impressive team.
“Joe had gone through a period in time in his adolescent years of frequent run ins with the law and a troubled upbringing,” Abdallah said.
“He decided never to go back to that life again. We sat in my office at the Lockport Athletic Club and talked. I didn’t know how serious he was, so I put him through a training regimen, which he aced. I pushed him a bit further and he trumped that as well. The more I pushed him, the more he rose to the occasion. I always knew we had something special with Joe.”
By the time Taylor first began training at the Lockport Athletic Club, Abdallah had stopped coaching fighters and resumed his own professional career.
Abdallah called upon one of his star pupils, Lockport’s Corey Webster, who was running Western New York MMA in Buffalo, to begin coaching Taylor. Webster gladly opened his doors and began working with Joe. Taylor also used his father’s former student and now friend, Kendrick Huston, to help train him and fill in the times he couldn’t make it to the gym.
Since that day, Joe Taylor has captured the WKA Amateur National Tournament Championship, the IKF Classic Tournament Championship, the New York State Golden Gloves title back-to-back and most recently, won a gold medal in the WKA Amateur World Championships in Spain.
The only logical next step was to turn to the professional ranks. Abdallah said it didn’t take long for Taylor and Lace-Up to agree to contract terms.
“What most people don’t understand is this is a business disguised as a sport. Often, fighters and people around them forget that,” Abdallah said. “My job isn’t just to get Joe fights, but to ensure he’s financially comfortable.”
Tickets for Lockport’s historic May 14 international fight card at the Kenan Center Arena are available at Ticketfly.com or in person at the Lockport Athletic & Fitness Club on South Transit Road.
Lockport’s Joe Taylor, right, recently traveled to the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas to sign a professional MMA contract with Lock City native Amer Abdallah, left, and Lace Up Promotions. Taylor will appear on a historic city international fight card on May 14 at the Kenan Center Arena. The main event of that card features the city’s first-ever world title fight as Abdallah takes on England’s Dan Hughes for the WKA Cruiserweight World Championship.