'I’m more than ready!': Josh Taylor interview
Luke G. Williams
Photos: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
During his final full week of training ahead of his World Boxing Super Series showdown with Ivan Baranchyk, Scottish super lightweight Josh Taylor spoke to Boxing Monthly’s Luke G. Williams about fighting in Glasgow, Regis Prograis’ latest performance and much more…
BM: How has your training been going for the Baranchyk bout?
JT: Training’s been great. This is the last hard week of graft. It’s been brilliant. I feel good, fit, fresh and strong. I can’t wait to get in the ring next week. I’m happy the camp’s over and I’m ready to fight.
BM: Your WBSS quarter-final performance against Ryan Martin was a real masterclass. That must have given you a lot of confidence.
JT: I felt I put on a really good performance, one of my better performances as a professional. But still I think I’ve got another 20 per cent there and I feel that as the opposition gets better I’m only going to get better. I’m really confident going into this fight off the back of that win. I’m feeling really good - my momentum is really good at the minute.
BM: How did all the uncertainty, announcements and rumours surrounding Baranchyk’s apparent withdrawal from the WBSS affect you?
JT: Not at all. We kept training for Baranchyk. We knew it was going to be really difficult for him to get out, contractually and legally and with his belt. We knew it would be unlikely he could get out so we just kept training for Baranchyk. We varied up the sparring a little bit for a couple of weeks and just in case we got some taller guys in because the replacement is a Thai guy. So we varied it up for a couple of weeks but in terms of tactics and the things we’ve been working on it was the same approach as for Baranchyk.
BM: What’s your assessment of Baranchyk and the threat he offers?
JT: He’s very strong and powerful. He’s a very physical fighter. I think he’s going to come fast out of the blocks and try and put it on me from the first bell. We need to wait and see but that’s what I’m expecting. Whatever he throws at me I’m more than ready to take care of.
BM: Regis Prograis reached the WBSS final with a win against Kiryl Relikh. What was your assessment of how Prograis looked?
JT: I saw bits and bobs of the highlights, I didn’t stay up to watch it. I wasn’t overly impressed by what he did. But he got the job done, did what he needed to do and got through to the final. His head movement was good but he was in there against a guy that looked old and washed up. I heard that he [Relikh] had to lose over 40lbs to get down to the weight, he looked tired, fragile and slow.
BM: You’ve had home advantage for your first two fights in the WBSS. How do you enjoy performing in Glasgow and would you be willing to travel for the final?
JT: The fans make brilliant noise and create a great atmosphere. The Glasgow fans are brilliant so I’m looking forward to putting on a show for them [on Saturday] as well. But I’m also more than happy to travel [for the final]. I’m used to that from the amateurs and I’ve also fought as a pro away from home and home comforts. I wouldn’t have a problem going anywhere, I’d actually look forward to it.
BM: It must be exciting to be fighting the best super lightweights in the world and finally be getting a crack at a world title?
JT: Of course. I’ve basically had two final world title eliminators - [Viktor] Postol was supposed to be a final eliminator for the WBC title and we knew when this tournament came about there was the potential to fight for a world title. In fact we looked at the opposition and were rubbing our hands because we feel every one of them is beatable and I’m ready to go. The prospect of winning two belts in three fights is just magic. The normal run of things in boxing with politics and so on and what with top fighters being with different promoters and broadcasters, means the top unification fights can take years to happen and quite often the fights don’t happen due to the politics of the business. So it’s really good that I’ll be getting two world title fights back to back. It was a no-brainer going into this tournament.
BM: Also on the Glasgow card is Japanese bantamweight sensation Naoya Inoue – what are your thoughts on him?
JT: It’s a wee bit of a shame that I won’t be able to watch him myself as he’s on before me and I’ll be fully focused on the task ahead. It’s great to have Inoue here and for Scottish and British fans to get the chance to see him and operate live. It’s brilliant.