The world’s boxing fraternity is monitoring Josh Taylor with great intent.
The Prestonpans puncher’s rise up the super-lightweight rankings since signing professional terms with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions in summer 2015 has been nothing short of meteoric.
Those with the gloves have to earn their right to fight the very best and boy has Taylor got a job on his hands in Glasgow this weekend.
Former world champion from Ukrania, Viktor Postol, now stands in the way of a 13th consecutive victory for the Scot and a maiden shot at the WBC world title later this year.
The strides taken by Britain’s most-talked about boxer are unrivalled in any other division.
However, despite the opportunities that are about to come his way should his hand be raised under the bright lights of the SSE Hydro tomorrow, Taylor, the reigning WBC Silver champion, appreciates that at 34, Postol is perhaps in last-chance territory if ‘the Iceman’ is to add a second world title before calling time on his career.
“I really can’t look beyond tomorrow as it would be incredibly foolish and naive of me to do that,” the 27-year-old told the Evening News. “I know if I don’t get past this one then a world title fight that everyone’s been talking about won’t happen – certainly not this year. It would put a real speed bump in the road and I’d have to work my way back up again, another two or three years maybe.
“Postol may be 34 now but he is still a dangerous fighter and is still ranked No.1 in the WBC rankings (Taylor is ranked No.2) so it’s a huge risk I’m taking at this stage of my career.
“He’s a top professional, a former world champion, so I have little doubt he’ll have watched back a few of my fights to see what I’ve got to offer. I reckon he knows what he wants to try and do but I believe it won’t be enough. We have come up with a plan and that’s what we intend to do.”
Given the calibre of his opponent – Postol has suffered a solitary defeat in 30 bouts and that was to former undisputed world super-lightweight champion Terence Crawford in July 2016 – Taylor’s confidence remains unshakeable. The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has become accustomed to having things go his own way inside the ring, but when asked if he would even contemplate tomorrow’s decision not going in his favour, Taylor said: “Absolutely not. Obviously things can go wrong but I just take a baseball bat and smash all these negative thoughts out of the park. You can’t think like that as you have to focus on the positives.
“I haven’t watched any of his fights fully. I’ve watched maybe three or four rounds but that’s enough because I’d start to overthink things if I watched anymore. I just focus on what I am going to do to him. He’s upright, though, has good footwork and is good at stepping back.
“After I win this fight tomorrow I will be fighting for the WBC world title next. I can then head for America and have some big fights over there.”
On the subject of America, Taylor, who has fought and won in the States three times already, revealed he received a message of support from across the Atlantic earlier this week.
“This is the fight that could make America really stand up and take notice,” he explained. “I know he hasn’t been stopped before but I think with my speed and timing I can put him on his backside.
“I’m getting a bit of attention over in America. I had a guy contact me earlier this week, Jamel Herring, who I boxed in the Olympic test event in London in 2012.
“He messaged me wishing me “all the best” for tomorrow night and said that I have a lot of support over that side of the water. That’s great to hear as that’s where I intend on going next.”