Exclusive: Josh Taylor: I'm ready to star in the Big Apple
World champion Josh Taylor will live out his American dream if he headlines New York's Madison Square Garden this summer.
The 32-year-old Prestonpans puncher, who is currently laid up with a torn plantar fascia (arch of his foot), is on the verge of completing the formalities on a deal that will see the Scot go glove to glove with Brooklyn supremo Teofimo Lopez, the former unified lightweight champion on Saturday, June 10.
And although the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist's US-based promoters Top Rank are still to confirm an exact date and venue, rumours are rife that the 12-round bout is heading for the Big Apple.
Current WBO champion Taylor was on track for a rematch with Jack Catterall in Glasgow before injury put paid to a reunion next weekend. But despite being limited to upper body work in the gym these past few weeks, the former Lochend amateur remains stationed in Liverpool with trainer Joe McNally.
Taylor's last outing was February 26 last year when he saw off Chorley's Catterall with a controversial split decision victory to keep his undefeated record intact. He has since wed childhood sweetheart Danielle, enjoying some downtime as a married couple in the aftermath.
However, he is ready to go to war again and will soon step up preparations for his 25-year-old opponent who has also dined at the sport's top table.
"Everything happens for a reason and what's for you won't go by you," the former undisputed king told the Evening News. "If this fight is to go ahead with Lopez, it's a much bigger fight and an even harder one than Catterall. He's a top fighter, unified world champion at lightweight - fought and beat (Vasyl) Lomachenko, one of the best in the business. His last couple of fights at light welter haven't been great, but you can't take away what's he achieved so far.
"He'll be up for this one because he knows I'm a real live wire - I'm expecting the best of Teofimo Lopez. He's tailor-made for me you could say! We both come to fight so I think it's going to be an absolute barnstormer. I can't see it going 12 rounds so one of us is going to be getting knocked out. I can see me getting him out early.
"When I was younger, I always said I'm going to be fighting at Madison Square Garden one day so it's looking like it's going to be there, although nothing is confirmed yet. But fighting at MSG would be another thing ticked off the bucket list, that's for sure. At least this time people will be able to travel so friends and family can come over. That's still a bugbear of mine that no one could travel to Las Vegas to see me become undisputed world champion due to Covid, so it's going to be amazing.
"This one has been brewing for a while because him and his dad have been talking a bit of s**t. Closer to the time and during fight week, my dad might even have something to say too if they keep it up! That would be quite funny actually.
"I think Teofimo is a bit mentally fragile at the minute with a few interviews I've seen. He puts on this persona but I can see through it and use it to my advantage."
Taylor believes he has enough time to recover fully from the foot injury to complete a ten-week camp ahead of his summer sizzler with Lopez. And while extremely disappointed the rematch with Catterall failed to materialise, he's adamant the pair haven't seen the last of each other.
"I should be back on my feet in another three or four weeks," he explained. "I am able to use Everton's training complex because they have an anti-gravity treadmill so I'm not going to get a lot of pounding on my foot. I said to promoters I didn't want to rush this because I've got to be 100 per cent. If I can in the next three or four weeks keep going with some rehab and physio, then I can really ramp it up after that.
"Listen Jack's desperate and he's got me on the brain 24/7. He's completely obsessed - him and all his family. It's quite sad really. They've all added me on social media and some of them have been sending private messages. But he needs me more than I need him because I didn't really need to do the rematch. I still don't but I will. I've always said it was me who had to give up everything to make it happen. I was chucking him another bone and he's just being a wee p***k.
"But let's see if he really can go and win a world title because I don't believe he beats any of these guys - he's not good enough, his style, everything really. He's good at spoiling fights and making you look crap, which I was when I fought him. If I'd been in form that night, I would have destroyed him, and in the rematch, he wouldn't have lasted.
"It's been put to the backburner for now but I will 100 per cent fight him before I wind down my career. It will happen. I let go of all my belts to do the rematch in the first place so I've not done that for nothing."