Josh Taylor ready for round two with Jack Catterall as grudge rematch edges closer
Josh Taylor is very much a man of his word. He stuck to his guns 14 months ago just days out from being crowned king of the world when he pledged to fight Jack Catterall, who then watched in awe as the Scotsman toppled Jose Ramirez on an historic night in Las Vegas.
And now the 31-year-old Prestonpans puncher is ready to do it all again, although, this time, the circumstances have taken on a different narrative.
Last year in the entertainment capital of the world, there was a gentleman's handshake between the pair. If there is to be an agreement for a second instalment of Taylor vs Catterall, any handshake this time around is dubious to say the least.
The blood has spilled over from their last duel in Glasgow in February and shows no signs of drying up. The pair have become embroiled in a heated spat that has drawn in boxing fans from all over the globe. Taylor stretched his undefeated record to 19 victories, a successful, albeit controversial, first defence of the four marbles he picked up while in the States. Lancashire's Catterall, meanwhile, feels he was robbed, and boy has he made his point loud and clear.
The 29-year-old has hounded Taylor for months about the possibility of stepping back into the ring and now he looks set to be granted his wish.
With Taylor vacating his WBC belt at the tail end of last week - Ramirez and Jose Zepeda will now go glove to glove for that honour - the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist's US-based promoters Top Rank are working on a deal to lure Catterall north of the border once more.
"I'm motivated for Jack and that's all I am thinking about," Taylor said in an exclusive interview with the Evening News. "The only reason I am staying at 140lbs is so I can face him again. I'm pretty sure this will be the last fight at the weight and then I'll move up, unless there is a really, really big fight that can tempt me to stay.
"Jack knows this is the right fight. I don't think he would beat any other of the top lads in the division. He had a good fight against me on a very bad night. Remember I don't have to give him this chance - I didn't even have to give him the first fight but I shook his hand and said if I come through against Ramirez I'll fight you next so I kept to my word. I made the man a promise and I stuck to it.
"And now more than a year after agreeing to the fight just before I beat Ramirez, I'm throwing him a bone again. I don't have to do it but I want to. I've done everything within my power to make it happen so it's over to him now. But if he can't work out things from his side, then I'm not going to wait around forever.
"So, sort your stuff out Jack and let's get it on. He's been crying for almost five months now like a little spoiled child. And I think that is now beginning to turn folk against him with the way he's going on. He sounds like a broken record. It's just tiring now.
"Many people felt that Jack won the fight and that's fine. If it had gone his way by a point or two, then I wouldn't have complained. But there have been far worse decisions in boxing. Take John Ryder v Danny Jacobs, that was a bad decision, or when Miguel Vazquez came over and absolutely battered Lewis Ritson but didn't get the win. Nothing gets said about those results, just mine.
"I'll sit tight on it just now and hopefully my team can agree a deal with his. I'll give him three or four weeks tops, but if I don't hear anything then I'll be moving on.
"I won the last fight and if he wants another go then he'll have to come back up to Scotland to do it. I suppose it doesn't really matter where it is but, at the end of the day, I am the champion - the A side. They keep harping on about this corruption thing but let's not forget there were English judges too.
"I'm going to punish him this time. I'm going to knock him out and put him flat on his back. I'm going in there to outbox him, beat him up 100 per cent and knock him out."
Taylor insists his sole focus must be on the task in hand this time around. In the build-up to February's bout Taylor had a TV crew monitoring his every move as they captured footage for the brilliant documentary Josh Taylor: Portrait of a Fighter which aired on the BBC last month.
"I'll be motivated this time because I didn't have that in the last fight," he said. "Don't get me wrong, getting down to 140lbs again is going to be a big struggle but I'll do it better. The hunger is there. If I wasn't motivated for a fight like this given what's going on, then I might as well retire.
"I will do things differently. I don't want any distractions this time. It was great to have the cameras around for the documentary as it gave a real insight into what we have to go through to make sure we're fight-ready. But it'll be very low key with what I do in the press as I'll be locking myself away to prepare."