Edinburgh boxer Josh Taylor is first to admit he was far from his best despite registering his eighth consecutive win at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last weekend.
Opponent Alfonso Olvera did achieve some success in being the first fighter to go the distance with the 26-year-old but ultimately fell short when it mattered as the Scot was awarded victory over the Mexican after an industrious eight rounds.
But, not only did the Commonwealth super-lightweight champion have to contend with the fact he was making his debut at boxing’s most iconic venue, the fight was also broadcast live throughout America as well as back home in the UK.
Since returning to his hometown of Prestonpans last Friday, Taylor has found the time to watch a rerun and dissect the finer details of his latest triumph. And, although he accepts his performance was by no means without its flaws, he says the remarks made by some of the sport’s biggest pundits have merely given him a hunger to go out and prove them wrong.
“I was disappointed with how I boxed but only because I know I can be so much better,” Taylor said. “I could have been sharper on the night and if I’d performed how I’d been sparring then I would have given the guy a pasting. I did feel comfortable though and I was never in any danger. He [Olvera] was there to win too, remember. He wasn’t going to lie down and just give me it so I had to work for it. And even when I did catch him and his legs went, it was like he almost recovered instantly. He was in good shape.
“I’ve seen people saying ‘oh there’s chinks in his armour’ but I reckon that’s a good thing. They don’t know how good I can be. I know it and my team knows it. A few of the pundits on Sky were saying it so hopefully people in Britain won’t be so shy from now on in coming to fight me. I believe I was only operating at about 40 per cent but having watched it back, I boxed okay. But I’m quite critical of myself and I know I can box a lot better.”
Taylor has so far been unable to put a finger on why he fell below the standards he sets himself and refuted suggestions he was striving for an eighth consecutive knockout.
“Everyone keeps saying ‘oh you looked like you were trying to knock him out’ but I’m telling you I wasn’t bothered about that,” he explained. “I never go looking for a knockout unless I feel it’s there. I just felt really flat and my reactions were slow. I couldn’t get any combinations going or anything and I sensed that when I was warming up before the fight that something wasn’t quite right. I don’t know why I felt that way to be honest. I wasn’t nervous or anything like that, which I usually am, so maybe it had something to do with that.
“But at the end of the day I got the win and that’s all that matters. I suppose it was good to get the experience and some more rounds in as well. Coming home and watching the fight back on the TV and seeing the amount of coverage I had in the build up is another wee achievement and a good stepping stone in my career.”
Having spent near enough the whole of last month training out in the States, Taylor enjoyed some much-needed downtime with his family to go out and experience the ‘real’ Vegas.
“We had a great few days after the fight enjoying all the things I couldn’t do beforehand,” he said. “I loved the food out there and really went to town. It’s some place. A lot of Vegas is quite poor though when you go further out. It’s a real eye opener. I didn’t feel unsafe but you saw a lot of people living in tunnels which is quite surprising when you think of Vegas itself. I suppose you can see why it’s a place that has destroyed so many people’s lives.”
Taylor is set to defend his Commonwealth title at Meadowbank next month.