'Do us proud Josh' - Prestonpans and Edinburgh locals travel to London in force for Josh Taylor fight
Local Businesses from around Prestonpans have come out in force to declare support for the town’s Josh Taylor, as fans from around Scotland travel down to London's O2 arena to watch the Prestonpans boxer's title fight against Regis Prograis tonight.
Susan Bellany, manager of the Thorn Tree Inn on the High Street, plans to show the fight on the pub’s big screens.
"We’re hoping to have quite a big crowd of locals along to watch it, but to be honest it feels like half of Prestonpans is going down to London,” she said.
“We’re all behind him, the place is really buzzing.
“He’s a local lad and we’ve always been rooting for him. He’s definitely going to win.”Taylor often comes into the pub, especially as his girlfriend Danielle used to work there part-time.
“He’s a nice lad, he always has time to spend with the youngsters who come up to him, wanting a selfie with Josh Taylor to tell their friends about,” Ms Bellany said.
The J&L Fitness and Boxing Clubon Hawthorn Road also supports Taylor.
Head Coach Jay Tuveri has met him several times, as Taylor’s family used to train at the club and Taylor is a sometime visitor.
“Everyone here will be watching the fight,” Mr Tuveri said.
“There’s no doubt Josh will win the title - you can see he’s hungry for it. Even in the past few days at the press conference, the weigh in, you could see he really wants it.
“He’s dying to get that title.”
The Prestoungrange Gothenburg pub on the High Street also supported Taylor. Manager Michelle Wilson said: “We’ll show the fight and hopefully we’ll have a good crowd,”
“But to be honest I think half of Prestonpans will be down in London,” she added.
“There’s going to be a lot of people - I know there are a couple of busloads going from outside the pub.”
Lewis Hendy, manager of the Mercait Gait swimming pool and leisure centre on Preston Road, said the centre also backed Taylor, and that many members and staff plan to watch the fight.
Boxing fans from Josh Taylor’s hometown of Prestonpans and all across Scotland have made the journey down to London to cheer on their local sporting hero in his fight against Regis Prograis.
Kate Paterson, 48, from Leith, travelled down by train from Glasgow on Friday night.
She has followed Taylor since the 2011 Commonwealth games.
She and her partner met him at a speakers dinner in Dunfermeline last year.
“Myself and my partner Kevin met Josh actually, he’s a great guy, very chatty,” she said.
“We’ve followed him since the Commonwealth games in 2011, and it’s even better now as he’s top of the bill. “It’s a huge thing for him, he’s worked so hard and he’s a really great guy.” “London here we come, tomorrow is going to be a sea of Saltires,” she added.
Ian Pritchard, 34, will be heading to London early on Saturday on the train from Inverkeithing.
“I’ve been to eight or nine of his 15 fights, and I’ve followed him since he used to box at Meadowbank,” he said.
“He’s quite rapidly become a big name I was there at the small venues, and have been following him from the very start.
“I fully believe he’ll be the best fighter Scotland has ever had - he’s quick, he’s got reach, he’s got every tool a boxer could want, and every fight keeps you on the edge of your seat.
“Regis Prograis is good but he’s just not on the same level as Josh.”
Peter Tierney has ventured to London from Musselburgh, by train with his partner and two daughters As a birthday present for his eldest daughter Ebony, who recently turned 12.
“The whole family are all boxing fans, we’ve been to all his fights in the World Boxing Super Series,” said Mr Tierney. “The two kids have been watching youtube videos of Josh, and following all the preparations, the weigh in and all that.
“He’s a right nice guy, he always meets us after the fights.
“I think it’s a very hard fight, Regis Prograis is a very tough opponent. But we all think Josh is going to win.”
Frazer Henderson, 46, is leaving Leith first thing on Saturday morning to join friends who have already arrived in London.
The bar and restaurant manager is a big boxing fan in general, but has followed Josh Taylor closely for the last three or four fights.
“I think he’s the best fighter Scotland has had since Ken Buchanan,” he said.
“And you know I think he might even surpass that. He’s got the height, got the weight and the reach, and that all works to his advantage.
“He also seems very up for the fight, from the press this week.
“I actually like Prograis as a guy, and he’s a good fighter. It will be a very difficult fight, but I think Taylor will win.
“I certainly hope so!”
Other fans sent support to Taylor on social media.
“Go on Josh you always make Scotland proud and on Saturday you’ll make us prouder,” wrote Alan Hunnam.
“Best of luck, do what you do best and smash him Josh,” Jane Walker added.
”All the best Josh, I will be at the O2 cheering you on. Do Scotland proud,” wrote Gary Gordan on Twitter.
“Fellow Scotsman gonna be cheering you on from Philadelphia the morrow mate!” said Johnny Mitchell.