Josh Taylor camp know how his important next fight is

Josh Taylor, right, shakes hands with Miguel Vazquez. Shane McGuigan is between them
Josh Taylor, right, shakes hands with Miguel Vazquez. Shane McGuigan is between them
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Home is where the heart is for boxer Josh Taylor. He’s excelled in all four of his 11 professional contests staged here in the Capital and, if the 26-year-old had it his way, he wouldn’t need to venture anywhere outwith the EH postcode for the rest of his career.

His undisputed talent, though, will see the Prestonpans puncher travel the world and rightly so. He has already fought in America three times and even made his pro debut there in summer 2015, in El Paso, Texas.

Barry McGuigan

Barry McGuigan

Having achieved global recognition when he won the WBA world featherweight title in June 1985, Taylor’s manager and former ring legend, Barry McGuigan, knows the script only too well.

Former IBF world lightweight champion Mexican Miguel Vazquez became the latest scalp for the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in front of a 4,000 sell-out at the Royal Highland Centre on Saturday night.

And while McGuigan was elated with the turnout at a venue that hadn’t staged live boxing since October 2004 when former home favourite Alex Arthur and undefeated Welsh supremo Joe Calzaghe headlined, the Northern Irishman insists Taylor will have to go wherever the big fights are.

“There’s definitely scope for another couple of thousand in the Royal Highland Centre but we are looking to take him around Scotland again. He will also go abroad, there’s no question about that,” McGuigan explained. “But he wants to fight in Edinburgh, he’s been emphatic about it ever since he turned pro. We’ve all heard him talking about fighting at Edinburgh Castle.

“It could be a possibility in a title fight in the summer but who knows logistically – it would certainly cost a lot of money! But it could be an option at some point. There are a lot of possibilities for Josh on where he goes from here.”

McGuigan revealed he expects super-lightweight Taylor to return to the ring early next year, although, who that is against is still up for discussion.

“I don’t want to sound facetious, but he’s far better than anyone in this country right now,” McGuigan said. “He needs a bit of a rest after a 14-week camp so he’ll have a nice break with the family. I don’t want him to be too far out though as we want him back out in February.

“Anthony Yigit is on our bill next month in Leicester and is worth a look or he could take another top-10-in-the world-guy from America.

“It’s an exciting time for Scottish boxing. Josh is leading the way but Jason Easton put on a great show again and this kid Lee McGregor is going to be something special. Edinburgh is the centre of the boxing world as far as Scotland is concerned. But we want to get the whole country on board.”

Taylor’s trainer and McGuigan’s son, Shane, is adamant that the current WBC Silver belt holder’s ambitions aren’t confined to just becoming a world champion.

“Josh doesn’t just want to be a world champion – he wants to be a legend,” he explained. “He won’t stop at the title, he wants to unify the division and go through the weights. He wants to be an icon in boxing.

“My job is to settle him down from believing all the hype. Dad is creating a brand, I’m creating the fighter. The good thing about Josh is he’s clever. Ninety percent of boxers hear they will be fighting for the world title in a year and it goes to their head. He comes to the gym and he knows he has to work. He knows he’s not the finished article.”

On Saturday night’s performance, Shane added: “I was getting frustrated with Josh because although he was winning, he was shaking his head between the rounds. I told him opponents, and, more importantly, judges, can pick up on body language. That was an important lesson he learned. You need to be poker faced at this level.”