Despite having secured victory on his maiden trip to Las Vegas last month, boxer Josh Taylor says it didn’t come remotely close to matching the love affair he has with Meadowbank.
The 26-year-old Edinburgh southpaw will make the first defence of his Commonwealth super lightweight title at the capital venue on Friday 24 March, against South African Warren Joubert – the arena where he conquered opponent Dave Ryan with a fifth-round stoppage to win the belt in October.
Taylor, who won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in what turned out to be his last bout as an amateur, admits the glitz and glamour of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was a sight to behold as he racked up his eighth consecutive win as a professional against Mexican Alfonso Olvera. However, the Scot says he can’t wait to box in front of a partisan home crowd in just five weeks’ time.
“Vegas has got nothing on Meadowbank I tell you,” Taylor quipped. “Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to fight at the Mecca of boxing at the MGM Grand. But even though there were quite a few in when I was boxing, it didn’t feel a lot because of the size of the venue.
“I absolutely loved it at Meadowbank last time when I beat Dave Ryan and was probably the best experience I have had in my boxing career. The atmosphere was just incredible. I’ve boxed in the Commonwealth Games in front of 10,000 people and also in the Olympics [in London in 2012] but that was better. I’ve watched the whole thing back again several times and it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, not just the fight but everything about the night so I’m hoping for more of the same. If it’s anything like last time then I can’t wait.
“Joubert has got a good record (26-4-5). I know he likes to come forward so it’s got the makings of an exciting bout.”
Taylor revealed he has had little time to unwind since returning home from the States but says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I had a week’s holiday after the fight and stayed out in Vegas with my girlfriend, Danielle,” he said. “But I’ve been back in the gym since coming home and I’m now away down to London to prepare right up until the week of the fight. I’m still fit and raring to go. I’m already good for six or eight rounds so it’s just about building my fitness up for 12.
“With being in the GB squad with the amateurs I was used to training down in Sheffield Monday to Friday and then coming home at the weekend. But I’m away for a lot longer these days but I’m doing the job I love. I actually prefer being away from home now as I can focus solely on the fight. I do miss my family and girlfriend so there are a lot of sacrifices you have to make.”