Josh Taylor: Scottish crowds make me feel like King Kong

Prestonpans boxer Josh Taylor says he feels he has the power of King Kong whenever he steps into the ring in front of a partisan crowd at the SSE Hydro.

Thursday, 1st November 2018, 5:30 am
Josh Taylor has been injuring his sparring partners ahead of Saturday's fight

The undefeated WBC Silver super-lightweight champion has performed at the Glasgow venue twice this year, overcoming both Winston Campos and Viktor Postol at the arena where he first burst on to the scene after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Taylor will now enter the SSE Hydro for a third time as a professional on Saturday when he faces American Ryan Martin, also undefeated, in the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Super Series.

The 27-year-old appreciates the magnitude of a tournament that, should he win, will propel him to global stardom as the first winner of the iconic Muhammad Ali Trophy in his weight division, not to mention the IBF and WBO world titles that are also on the line.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The winner of Saturday night’s contest will face Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-finals early next year. However, Taylor is solely focused on getting the job done against Martin first.

“The Hydro has become my home just now. Every fight I’ve had there my performances have been better and the fanbase is getting bigger,” Taylor said. “There’s absolutely no chance I am going to be beaten on Saturday. When the big occasion arrives, I turn up. I can’t wait. What goes through my head? Showtime. Let’s get it on. I feel like King Kong.

“I feel really confident. I’ve prepared well in the gym so I’m ready to go on Saturday. I will be coming into my prime in the next couple of years so I’m just going to keep getting better and stronger.

“I’ve been in about seven or eight championship fights now so I’m used to everything that comes with it. He [Martin] hasn’t boxed anybody like me or anyone similar to who I’ve boxed. He’s never been in the ring with anyone like myself. I’ve seen the sparring he has been getting and it’s been nothing like my style so he’s going to be in for a shock when he sees my speed and power.

“I feel I can get to him and hurt him but I’ve prepared for a hard 12 rounds, as we always do. I’ve been dropping sparring partners and breaking their ribs so I’m confident.”

The media coverage at the press conference was on another level to what Taylor has previously experienced. And it didn’t go unnoticed. “That was definitely a big step up and the biggest since the Commonwealth Games,” he explained. “It just goes to show the platform I’m on and the interest this tournament has got. It’s huge. I feel like I’m in a massive fight and I’ve never been so relaxed in front of the media. I usually get all stuttery when I’m in front of the media but I felt good this time. It’s like the Champions League of boxing this competition. Ever since I started boxing and got the chance to go to the Commonwealth Youth Games, I just love being under the big lights. It just relaxes me and helps me perform on the night. I love the noise and it makes me feel ten foot tall.

“I’ve got the Taylor tartan on my shorts for Saturday so I’m ready to go to battle. The only thing I’m missing is having half of my face painted blue!”

Taylor was due to make a pre-fight visit to the Hydro last week to see comedian Kevin Bridges but elected to sell his tickets and channel all his energy into this weekend.

He said: “I had tickets to go and see him last week but I sold them with the fight coming up as it would have been too late a night having to drive through and back. People probably would have been asking me about the fight prep and what have you so I thought it would be better not to go. I’m sure somebody will get me the DVD for Christmas!”