LOCHEND lightweight Josh Taylor ensured the boxing ring remained a happy hunting ground for Team GB with a 13-9 victory over Brazil’s Robson Conceicao and is now targeting a slice of revenge.
Following on from the winning starts made by Anthony Ogogo and Fred Evans in the ExCel Arena, Taylor showed composure beyond his 21 years to weather a late storm from Conceicao on his London 2012 bow.
In contrast to Evans’ earlier slugfest, Taylor kept his cool throughout and ducked, dived and clinched his way through the final round to book a rematch against Domenico Valentino on Thursday evening.
The Italian beat him 13-11 in last year’s European Championships in Turkey, although in the words of Team GB podium coach Paul Walmsley, he is now fitter, faster and stronger – an analysis the Lochend Club fighter, is inclined to agree with.
“I am 100 per cent better than I was last time,” added Taylor, who had to drop down from light welterweight to lightweight to qualify for the Olympics.
“I boxed him before and I think I lost by two points so I am confident I can beat him.
“He is very technical and a good technical fighter at the Europeans but I did not have the nutritional support back then so I was not clued up on that kind of stuff that I have now.
“I knew what to eat but I did not know when to eat it and the ins and outs of it. I knew the very basic stuff which just was not enough but now I am getting all the right support.
“It will probably be the same tactics but I just hope to get the combinations flowing a little bit more and relax a bit more.
“I tried to hit and move throughout the whole fight. I knew he was really strong coming forward and I knew that’s what I had to do.”
Taylor knew full well Conceicao would be a tricky opponent having sparred with him previously and so it proved.
After taking the first round 3-2, Taylor used his counter punching and reflexes to negotiate the later rounds.
All three British boxers – an Englishman, a Welshman and a Scot respectively – have been welcomed by a wall of noise by the partisan home crowd and Taylor admitted that took some getting used to.
He added: “This is the biggest support I have ever seen.
“It is amazing especially when they are all cheering for you, that’s the first time I have had that.
“It was good to get the ball rolling. I felt a bit tight and tense at first but I started relaxing and now I have got the next fight to come.
“I know what the crowd is like and hopefully I can relax and get my combinations flowing.
“I go into every fight no matter how big or small wanting to win so I am just treating this like any other competition. I am not trying to think it is the Olympics.”
• Bank of Scotland, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at bankofscotland.co.uk/London2012