Taylor eyeing world title but he’s still ‘Josh from the Pans’

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JOSH TAYLOR embarked on a trip down memory lane as he made his way through the glass doors at the Omni Centre – only this time he was the star of the show.

The reigning WBC Silver and Commonwealth super lightweight champion afforded his growing fanbase the opportunity to catch a glimpse of what they can expect ahead of Saturday night’s duel with former IBF world lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez at the Royal Highland Centre.

Taylor was being put through his paces by trainer Shane McGuigan in a temporary ring that had been erected on the ground floor at the leisure and food outlet on Greenside Place.

However, as the 26-year-old recalled, it wasn’t that many moons ago that he was a regular visitor to the complex to take in a film or a have bite to eat.

“I used to come to the cinema here during the school holidays and see the big films that were out at the time, have something to eat with the lads and then we’d go over the road to the under-18s disco, although I forget the name of it.

“So having the public 
workout here feels a bit strange to be honest but it’s really whetted my appetite for the fight with so many turning up,” Taylor told the Evening News.

“It’s brilliant that I am finally getting the exposure I deserve and I’m delighted to be back in my hometown.

“I feel confident for this weekend. I flew up from London yesterday morning so it’s good to be back home. The closer the fight gets the more confident I get.”

Taylor, whose last outing was a seventh-round stoppage of the outspoken Ohara Davies at Braehead Arena in July, acknowledged that success over Mexican Vazquez, who has never been stopped and has emerged victorious in 39 from 44 pro contests, would put him on the cusp of a world title shot.

“I know I am going to have to be at my very best if I am to get the win,” he said. “Vazquez moves around a lot so he’s not your typical Mexican fighter. To be honest I haven’t watched a lot of him but I’ve prepared for a hard 12 rounds so that’s what I am expecting.

“I’m expecting a great atmosphere on Saturday so I know they [the fans] will try to make it as uncomfortable as they can for him.

“You get nervous before every fight but I think this one has a different feel to it as he’s never been stopped, he’s been in the ring with the very best and he’s a former world champion.

“If it [world title fight] comes along next then 100 per cent I would take it, absolutely. But we’ll just need to wait and see. I feel if I was to be offered a world shot tomorrow I’d be ready for it. I’m not in a rush but I’m 26 and I want to operate at the top for as long as I can.

“I do think I can become a two-weight world champion, maybe even three. Once I fill out a bit more I reckon I’ll move to welterweight in the next two to three years, that probably is my natural weight as I have the right frame for it, but that’s way down the line and it’s not even in my thoughts.”

For now, though, Taylor will rest up and refuel at his family home in Prestonpans alongside mum and dad, Diane and James, and girlfriend Danielle. And, he insists, that’s all the preparation he needs.

“We’re not staying in a hotel so I’ll be back in my own bed. I’ll get up early the next few mornings, take the dog a walk and just do the simple things. I want to stay as relaxed as 
possible. It’s pretty good where I stay as most people leave me alone to do my own thing,” he said.

“People always ask me about my boxing when I’m out and about, which is nice, but really I’m still just wee Josh from the Pans. I know they’re very proud of me and they’ll always say ‘oh you’re doing great or keep up the good work’ and things like that which is really nice.”