Josh Taylor: I’d love to fight in Madison Square Garden, where Ken Buchanan ruled the roost

There is no rest for the wicked. That's the philosophy of new undisputed super lightweight world champion Josh Taylor.

By Neil McGlade
Sunday, 30th May 2021, 4:55 am
Josh Taylor beat Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas and would like to return to the US to fight in Madison Square Garden. Picture: David Becker/Getty Images
Josh Taylor beat Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas and would like to return to the US to fight in Madison Square Garden. Picture: David Becker/Getty Images

Eight days have now passed from that memorable 36 minutes in Las Vegas where a unanimous points victory over Jose Ramirez, the 18th of his professional career, saw the Scot become the first Briton to hold all four belts in any weight class.

Taylor is ready to embrace the new week now that his quarantine period is over after arriving back in Edinburgh from the States last Tuesday.

And, as for the first thing he plans to do when he awakes tomorrow morning to enjoy his freedom?

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Josh Taylor with Ken Buchanan, Scotland's last undisputed world champion before Taylor. Picture: @JoshTaylorBoxer/Twitter

"I’ll be back in the gym but not punching – I need to let my hands heal – but working out. Or maybe doing roadwork to keep myself ticking over," the 30-year-old explained. "The hard work is just beginning now because of this bull’s eye. Everyone wants a piece of me and, although I’ve worked hard to get here, I’m going to need to work even harder to keep what I have.

"I have this big target on my back now, with everyone asking me what’s happening next and how much time I’ll be taking off. There's your answer."

Another port of call for the Tartan Tornado will be to arrange a meet with a former boxer – and close friend – who holds such a dear place in this heart, the great Ken Buchanan Scotland's only other undisputed world champion.

“I spoke to one of his handlers, who sent me a video of Ken saying: ‘Well done, son – I’m glad you’ve done it'. I’ve tried to arrange to see him but that might prove quite difficult at the moment with everything that’s going on but, hopefully, there could be a way around it – maybe I could meet him in the park or a coffee shop. I’d love to do that and so would he.”

Crowds applaud Scottish Boxer Ken Buchanan when he arrives back in Edinburgh after retaining his world lightweight championship again Ruben Navarro.

Taylor continued: "I've been thinking a lot about the similarities of what we both achieved. It’s quite scary because my long-time sponsor and friend, Ross Koppel, he posted a photograph the day after the fight with me and my Ring Magazine belt and Kenny with his from back in the day.

"The next one was him coming home from Puerto Rico with his sunglasses on and his bruised face and another of me with my sunglasses on. I was just like 'wow'!

“The similarities between us are incredible. I went over to America and fought in the lion’s den to bring back all the belts just like he did. Even the nicknames – I only found out last year that he was called the Tartan Legend and, of course, I’m the Tartan Tornado.

“Some of these coincidences are just too good to be true, although I don’t believe in coincidence. I think that this was meant to happen. I’d love to fight in Madison Square Garden, where Ken ruled the roost all those years ago. I actually wanted the Ramirez fight to be in Madison Square Garden because of the massive Scottish and Irish constituency on the east coast."

Ken Buchanan ruled the roost at Madison Square Garden in his heyday.

Taylor has earned the right to take stock and weigh up his options moving forward. A host of fighters, both from the lightweight (135lbs) and welterweight (147lbs) divisions, have expressed a desire to try and knock the Prestonpans puncher off his perch – none more so than current undefeated WBO, WBA and IBF world lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, pictured inset.

“To become a champion at three weights I’d probably have to go back to lightweight," Taylor said. "I probably could do it now I have a nutritionist on board. But I’m also 30 and maybe going to 135 would take a wee bit too much steam out of me. That’s maybe too much of a risk. So, if I were to try to become world champion at three weights I’d probably need to move up to light-middle which might be a bit too much of a jump in terms of natural size and strength. But I’d give it a go if it came about. If the right fight came about I wouldn’t say no to it.

“But I could also spend my entire career at 140lbs. I’m not in a rush to go up to 147. I’m making the weight comfortably. But, me being me, I’m very ambitious. I now want to become a two-weight world champion. And that would be me really cementing my place in the history books. I’m an ambitious fighter and that’s what I want to do, keep setting new goals.

"Lopez is saying that he’s an undisputed world champion when he isn’t – he only has three of the belts. He still has business to take care of at lightweight but he’s obviously just bumping his gums because he wants the big fights, which is understandable. If that happens, it happens. I’d happilytake the fight and cut him down to size. I’d bring him down to earth with a bang. I genuinely think I’d beat him up if we ever meet but I’ve no real interest in Teofimo Lopez. How they can have the audacity to say I’m scared of him is... it’s just a joke."

Taylor is still awaiting the arrival of his new WBC and WBO belts, although he has been reunited with this WBA and IBF straps after they were lost in transit.

“I have a big feature wall in my house and I purposely had six holes built to accommodate all these belts, which was all down to my self-belief," he said. "This wall was designed because I knew that not only was I going to be a world champion but that I’d be the undisputed world champion. When these two belts arrive, the wall will be complete.”