World champion Josh Taylor eyes next fight at home after fixing his garden
How does the undisputed world champion boxer celebrate a title unification victory? For Josh Taylor the answer was at home, and in the garden.
We are still living in Covid times, after all.
After his victory over Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas last month secured all four world light-welterweight titles, Taylor went into quarantine on his return to Scotland and has been easing himself back into everyday life by resting his hands, those world champion fists, and some surprisingly greenfingers.
"I did the back garden because it was a mess," Taylor revealed. "I was back down to earth with a bang, straight back to reality!
"I don’t have that much to do so I like to do that myself. Everyone else is at work so I need to keep myself occupied.”
It's a typically humble admission from Taylor, who admits his historic achievement was beyond his wildest dreams when he was watching one of his next potential opponents, Terence Crawford, fight Ricky Burns in Glasgow seven years ago. Now, he wants a fight of his own on these shores.
"I was at the SECC that night and it never occurred to me that one day I might be in the same ring as him. At that point in time my dream was to win the Commonwealth Games gold medal for Scotland and then turn professional and win a title.
"I never, ever thought I’d be in the position I’m in now and I wouldn’t have believed it – world champion yes, but undisputed? That would have seemed far-fetched.”
The full complement of belts now displayed above his fireplace at home are the tangible proof of his success that passed off more quietly than it should have done. Coronavirus travel restrictions stopped fans travelling to Las Vegas to see the fight live, and also put the kibosh on the fighter enjoying fully his homecoming in Prestonpans.
A home fight – as is his wish for his next bout – could change all of that and see the support that has swept the nation for the Scottish football team during the European Championship switch sport and form a Tartan Army for the Tartan Tornado.
“I want to do a homecoming fight here and then head back Stateside for a big fight,” he explained. "I’ve got a couple more years and I could do a few more big fights. I could retire today and be happy with what I’ve achieved, but I’ve still got that desire to go and achieve even more.
"I could get a second world title in a second weight – that’s another goal now. I’m not standing still, I’m setting goals all the time. Another four or five fights – hopefully they’re big ones – and then I can retire while I’ve got my faculties about me.
"This is the fittest I’ve ever been and I still feel I’ve got more. Until the day comes where I’m feeling like I maybe don’t have it anymore, or that I don’t have the heart for it – that’s when I’ll hang up my gloves.”
There will be more opportunities for his own fans - at home and abroad - after many missed out on the unification fight.
"I want big fights in America,” he added. “That fight there should have been the big one – what a fight to land, an undisputed fight.
"Becoming undisputed champion, being the first person from Britain to do it – it was huge.
"We should have had loads of fans going over and being in a big arena. That’s what’s a bit bittersweet about it. There weren’t enough people there to watch me do it. It should have been a big occasion, a big piece of history being made, and no one could come with me. It’s the biggest scalp of my career and my friends and my family weren’t even there to see it.
"It was a bit of a kick in the stones but there are other big, big fights as well. That was my Mount Everest but there are plenty of big fights to come.
"We’re going to take a travelling support this time and it will be huge. It will be a big fight."
The where and when remains in question, as does the who.
Fellow undisputed world champion Crawford could be an opponent in a super-fight, but so could a mandatory defence of the WBO belt against Jack Catterall.
“I’ve spoken to Bob Arum and we could do the Terence Crawford fight or the Teofimo Lopez one – there are big fights out there but we’ll let my hands heal for a couple of weeks and then get things moving. It might be a big fight at 147lbs next or it might not, but I’d like to box at home next."
That would be welcome for the many fans who were unable to see and support him on his last outing, and for Taylor, who was unable to truly embrace the adulation when he returned to Prestonpans - restricted to waving from his car due to his impending quarantine at home.
And home is where the undisputed boxing champion of the world had to celebrate his unification win, watching the TV on the wall beside his four belts and reliving the fight which thrust him among the top five pound-for-pound fighters on the planet last month.
"That doesn’t really bother me, although it’s pretty cool: it’s not a bad achievement. If I wasn’t ranked up there I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it but it does make me think 'You’ve done all right for a wee boy from Prestonpans, Josh’.
“It still feels like a dream I haven’t woken up from yet. Seeing all the belts above the fireplace just reminds me that I’ve done it.”