Josh Taylor woke up this morning like “a kid at Christmas”.
Having endured a pulsating eight-week training camp, not to mention Wednesday’s highly-charged press conference, the 25-year-old Capital boxer is now just 12 rounds away from securing his first professional title and becoming the new Commonwealth super-lightweight champion.
It’s been 11 years since Edinburgh last had a Commonwealth champion of its own – Alex Arthur, who would later go on to win a world super-featherweight title – defeating Craig Docherty by knockout in 2005, a bout that took place at tonight’s venue, Meadowbank.
However, a new chapter might just be about to unfold should the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist overcome seasoned domestic boxer in Derby’s Dave Ryan.
“I’ve just soaked everything in to be honest and feel like a kid at Christmas at what lies ahead tonight,” Taylor told the Evening News. “I’ve just loved the atmosphere of the whole build-up and everything that goes with it. I’m loving the ride, to be honest.
“I’ve not put any extra pressure on myself so what will be will be – I truly believe that. I’ve never felt so relaxed before a fight I’m that confident I’m going to win.”
Both boxers came through yesterday’s weigh-in with little fuss, Taylor tipping the scales a tad more at 9st 13lbs 8oz in comparison to his opponent’s 9st 13lbs 4oz.
Ryan’s promoter, Clifton Mitchell, who almost caused a fracas at Wednesday’s press conference over his derogatory comments towards the Scot, was again trying to make himself the centre of attention as Taylor stripped down to take his place on the scales. The former heavyweight boxer was visibly unhappy about something – although what that was remains unclear. Asked if he’d had time to sleep on the tirade Mitchell had launched at him the previous day, Taylor said: “I went to bed absolutely fine on Wednesday night and didn’t bat an eyelid at what he’d said about me – Clifton’s just a big clown. He’ll see tonight, that’s for sure.”
On the weigh in itself, Taylor added: “He [Ryan] was in my face but I was staring right through him. He looked away first – I’d stand there all day and look into his eyes.
“Regarding my game-plan for tonight, you’ll just have to see what it is. I’m not going to give that away. But, I will tell you I think I can get him out of there, although I’m not going to go looking for it. I’ll beat him in every department though.”
Since flying back north from his Battersea base in London on Tuesday afternoon, Taylor has spent the last three nights back in his old bed in his family home of Prestonpans – mum Diane and dad James and younger sister Finch having had an extra mouth to feed around the dinner table.
So just how will the ‘Tartan Tornado’ spend his last few hours before making the journey to a venue he knows all so well from his days fighting as an amateur?
“I’ll have a nice long lie before I’ll go for a walk around lunchtime with the dog, just myself, and get my head nice and clear and relaxed,” he revealed. “I’ll go through the fight and what I’m wanting to do this afternoon and start to zone in.
“I’ll then have a good feed, chill out for a bit before heading to Meadowbank for about 7 o’clock.
“I like to be by myself for a few hours before I make my way to the ring so I’ll sit around the back myself as I don’t really want to talk to anyone. I like to chill out and just put my music on. But once I get out there it’s time to do what I’m there to do.
“I can’t wait to fight at Meadowbank again as I haven’t fought in Scotland for just over a year. It’s going to be some occasion, being live on Channel 5 and having that electric home support behind me.”