Josh Taylor says victory in Vegas will ‘tick off everything on the bucket list’
The undefeated Prestonpans puncher, who holds the IBF and WBA titles after 17 consecutive wins, will write himself into the history books should he conquer WBC and WBO champion, Jose Ramirez in ten weeks’ time in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas.
American Ramirez, two years Taylor’s junior, also boasts an unblemished record of 26 wins in the ring. However, victory for the Tartan Tornado will see him become the first Scot to hold all four belts and only the second boxer in the super lightweight division to achieve such a feat.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist has already secured his seat at boxing’s top table when he won his first world title at the SSE Hydro in May 2019. However, success over Ramirez on Saturday, May 22, at a venue to be confirmed, will propel him into a whole new universe.
This won’t be the former Lochend amateur’s first venture to Vegas, though. He had a little taste of it in 2017 when he recorded victory over Mexican Alfonso Olvera - boxing on the undercard of then stablemate Carl Frampton’s world-title showdown with Leo Santa Cruz. But this time it will be his, and not Frampton’s name, setting Las Vegas Boulevard alight.
“It’s a dream come true to be heading for Vegas,” Taylor explained. “I feel really lucky to be in this position but I’ve worked hard to get here. I’ve dedicated my whole adult life to the sport. Every fighter dreams about headlining in Vegas and I can now say that my time is come. I’m one of the fortunate few.
“But I’m not there yet, I’ve still got a job to do. If I win this fight then that’s everything ticked off on the bucket list - I’ll have done everything I set out to achieve.
“I’ve done pretty well up to now in my professional career so I’m quite happy with my achievements. But I’m hungry for more, both in this division and at welterweight. I’m always setting new goals and targets so I never stand still.”
While ecstatic to fulfil a life-long ambition of headlining his own show in Vegas, Taylor expressed his frustration at Edinburgh Castle’s reluctance to acknowledge his proposal of fighting on the esplanade.
“It’s been stone cold from Edinburgh Castle,” he said. “It’s a growing frustration for me. I’m beginning to get to the point of telling them where to go. It’s beyond me why the people at Edinburgh Castle don’t want to have one of their natives and have a massive historical sporting event - yet they’ll let Lady Gaga or someone go up there and have a concert.
“It’s beyond me, the logic. I just know a fight of that magnitude, a fight with the castle in the background is great for Scotland, great for Edinburgh Castle, it’ll bring tourists and revenue in. I’d really love to do it but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. It’s their loss in my opinion.”
Returning from Vegas with all four belts and a first defence of those honours would surely be an offer the castle couldn’t refuse.