‘Sir Josh Taylor? Can you imagine - that would be mental!’
Sir Josh Taylor – it has a certain ring to it. The Tartan Tornado won’t have to fight his way through the queue when it comes to the New Year Honours list. He will be in pole position.
“That would be mental! Can you imagine it? Sir Josh Taylor? Would I make the boys in my local call me Sir? Absolutely –100 per cent!” he quipped when asked about the possibility of following in the footsteps of Scottish sports stars Kenny Dalglish, Chris Hoy and Andy Murray in receiving knighthoods.
But when you strip back what Taylor has achieved in just 18 professional fights, his rise to undisputed world champion stardom following his victory over Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas at the weekend is goose bumps stuff.
“To be honest I’ve never even thought about that kind of thing and it’s funny Martin Compston suggested it,” Taylor said. “But I’ve seen people say this is up there with the greatest Scottish sporting achievements. I guess it is. This kind of thing doesn’t happen too often. The last one was Ken Buchanan, and that was 50 years ago.
“I don’t know who you’d compare it to in other sports but it’s not very often you get a Scotsman becoming the best in the world. It’s some feeling. I’m not surprised because this is what I’ve been working for all my life.
“But, at the same time, I don’t know how to feel. I know it’s a huge achievement but I’m still walking around on cloud nine in a daze.
“All the hard work and dedication has paid off. It’s ridiculous to be undisputed in 18 fights. I don’t think it’s ever been done before. Floyd Mayweather is one of the greats but he won his first world title in his 18th fight – I’ve cleaned up the division in that time. It’s crazy. I get emotional even thinking about it.”
Taylor finally got to experience the real Las Vegas as he and his team ventured off into the night following his heroic victory over Ramirez at the Virgin Hotels resort.
“The celebrations were brilliant afterwards,” he said. “It was a bit of a heavy night, one of those ones you think you might wake up with a tiger in your room! Thankfully the belts were still there though.
“It was such a great night. The boys in the team have been superb out here for weeks and we just had a laugh in the hotel bar afterwards. There were the usual winds ups but everyone was in great spirits. On Sunday we got a bit of sun and went to a pool party. We’ve got to enjoy the real Vegas experience before we come home.
“We all put in the hard graft out here for four weeks. We had some down time along the way but it’s been serious work.
“But it was all worth it and it was amazing to be able to celebrate. It will be magic to celebrate back home with my family and friends. I can’t wait to see them as it’s been tough not having them out here with me.
“They’ve been with me every step of the way and it was hard not being able to enjoy the win with them in person. We’ve still made the most of it mind you! It’s still not sunk in, to be honest. My phone has gone completely daft. I keep trying to look at the messages but I can’t even make a dent in it. The phone has totally melted.”
Taylor is expected to touch back down in Edinburgh tonight and cannot wait to embrace mum Diane, dad James, and fiancée Danielle, who were unable to travel due to Covid restrictions. The Prestonpans puncher is hoping he’s also provided some inspiration to Steve Clarke’s players ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic in just under three weeks’ time.
“It would be amazing to show off the belts at Hampden,” he said. “It would be some feeling to do in in front of the fans at the Czech Republic game. The only slight downside about the weekend was the fans not being able to travel to Vegas.
“But maybe walking out at Hampden in front of 12,000 would make up for that a little bit. I always think back to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
“I’ve said before that was probably my best experience in boxing, even up there with winning world titles. Becoming undisputed might pip it now, but it was just that buzz of the crowd in the Hydro, all singing Flower of Scotland and so on.
“I would have loved to have had thousands belting it out in Vegas but maybe we could do it at Hampden instead. I hope I’ve done the country proud.”
As for what and who is next?
“The options I have now are just unbelievable,” Taylor said. “The list of fights out there for me is incredible.
“Everyone in about three divisions is going to want a crack at me. That’s what I love to hear. There are loads of names being chucked around, people talking Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, a big domestic fight with Jack (Catterall). The list is as long as my arm. I’ll need to sit down and really think about what comes next, but the world’s my oyster right now.”
• Our coverage of Josh Taylor’s undisputed world title fight is proudly brought to you in association with WOW Hydrate www.wowhydrate.com