Boxing: Polish tourney is warm-up for Josh’s final eliminator

JOSH TAYLOR is taking the long way round to reach London – but the Prestonpans southpaw hopes it will be worth it to realise his dream of boxing at the Olympics.

Taylor, 21, must perform well at an Olympic qualifier in Trabzon, Turkey on April 13-22 to join the Team GB line-up, but first he heads for Warsaw and the respected Feliks Stamm tournament this weekend where he hopes to keep sharp by boxing against the cream of European competitition.

“I simply can’t afford any ring rust when I box in Turkey in April,” said Taylor. “I only have to win my quarter-final bout to realise my dream of boxing for Britain in the Olympic games, so there’s a lot at stake.”

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“I’m confident that I can do well in Poland as I’ve had some great sparring with both our club bantamweight Pushker Singh and light-welterweight Lewis Benson.

“Pushker and Lewis both box later this month in the Scottish Senior championship finals at Meadowbank, so we’ve been helping each other.’’

Taylor was a member of the Capital’s Lochend club but now trains full-time in Sheffield with the GB squad and was advised to change weight divisions to give him a shot at an Olympic appearance and join the list of confirmed boxers in Tom Stalker, who beat him in the Commonwealth Games final in Delhi in 2010, Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell, Andrew Selby and Fred Evans.

“One worry that I had about coming down from light-welterweight to lightweight to box for an Olympic place has proved groundless – I was worried about weakening myself with controlled weight reduction to keep at 60kg for the Olympic qualifiers but I’m currently just five ounces over the 60kg limit which is nothing at all and I will lose that easily on the day of my bouts.”

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Lightweight is the most competitive weight class within the GB team with four men still in the frame for selection. The front-runner is Martin Ward, from Romford, winner of the recent Olympic Test Event at the ExCel in London and he faces stiff competition from fellow Englishman Iain Weaver of Ferndown and Joe Cordina from Wales.

• FORMER Edinburgh professional super-middleweight, Sean Heron, has confirmed he will apply to the Scottish Area Council of the Board of Boxing Control in Glasgow to license him to make a ring comeback as a cruiserweight despite being 45 years old and having not fought in the ring for 17 years.

Heron said: “Terry Dunstan was licensed at the age of 42 and beat the much younger David Dolan for the English cruiserweight title in 2010 so I don’t see why I can’t do likewise aged 45. I am very serious about this comeback and a promoter has already told me that if the Board grant my licence to box again he’ll put me on his boxing show bills.”