Hibs coach: I would love to see Josh Taylor fight at Easter Road

Robbie Stockdale says boxer can inspire players

By David Hardie
Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:00 am
Josh Taylor lifts the Muhammad Ali Trophy
Josh Taylor lifts the Muhammad Ali Trophy

Hibs assistant coach Robbie Stockdale has admitted it would be “an amazing thing” to have double world boxing champion Josh Taylor stage his next big fight at Easter Road.

The East Lothian super-lightweight added the WBA title to the IBF belt won in Glasgow in May to become the first Scot to unify a weight division since Ken Buchanan 48 years ago when he defeated Regis Prograis in an energy-sapping bout at London’s O2 Arena.

And immediately the Hibs-daft champ, certain to be in demand in the United States, set his sights on staging his next fight either on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle or at Easter Road - a proposition the Capital club have already signalled they’d be open to.

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Stockdale believes head coach Paul Heckingbottom’s squad can take huge inspiration from Taylor - who they are hoping will meet their players at their East Mains training centre just as former double Wimbledon tennis champion Sir Andy Murray has previously done.

Many of the Hibs players have supported Taylor in previous fights and Stockdale believes the 28-year-old would love to box in front of a huge Easter Road crowd.

He said: “It’s above my pay level but if we could do it, if there was a possibility, I think it would be an amazing thing.

“Josh’s win was absolutely brilliant, fantastic. The boys were talking about it, a few of them have seen him before. It’s such a tough sport, discipline to get to the top. It’s outstanding really and a real inspiration to us.

“You look at people like that, Andy Murray as well. You have to feed off that, we’ve already tried to put the wheels in motion that he’ll come in and speak to us in person and he would be really good.

“It must be one of the toughest ways to make a living, but he’s got to the top and it’s probably through professionalism, dedication and sheer guts really. If we do get to meet him it would be brilliant, tap in to what he does and see what he’s got to say.”

Stockdale insisted that, on a broader basis, football would do well to embrace the success of others in all walks of life. He said: “I’ve done it at other clubs with people who have got to the top, even in business.

“You find out different ways to do it. I’ve watched rugby league big teams and how they do it, football has a lot to learn from other sports. I think we are getting better. I’m taking an interest in rugby union at the minute to see what teams do there.

“If you pigeonhole yourself to learn from football, that’s all you’ll ever learn. There are so many sports you can take things from.”