FOUR years of frustration are almost at an end for Josh Taylor.
Four years in which he has had ample time to reflect on the silver medal he won at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and how he can turn that into gold in Glasgow.
The Lochend boxer was only 19 in 2010, and did well to reach the final, where he lost to the vastly more experienced Tom Stalker of England. After a few days he was able to take some pride in what he had achieved, but he wept after his defeat, and for a time was inconsolable.
“I was in tears four years ago and it could be the same this time – but only in a good way, I hope,” Taylor said after being named in the Scotland team for the Games, in the 64-kilogram weight category. “Tears of joy. My intentions are to get the gold this time, without a doubt, and I would be more than disappointed if I didn’t win it on home soil. I believe in myself and I believe that I can go and win the gold medal this time, especially with the Games being in Scotland.
“I was really upset in Delhi, but that’s because I want to win – it’s the only thing for me. I don’t go into this sport or go into fights to come second best or to do well, compete well. I go in to win. I compete to win, and second-best is no good to me.
“I kept the silver medal from Delhi, of course. Two or three days afterwards, I was looking at it thinking ‘I’ve done well there. I’ve done brilliantly. It’s a great achievement for such a young boxer, just 19’ – and I’d only been boxing for three years.
“But, ultimately, I still wanted to win. That’s why there was such disappointment on the day. That’s why I was in tears. I can definitely use the experience of that day. I am so much more experienced now.”
Since then, Taylor has fought at the Olympic Games, where he reached the quarter-finals, as well as World and European Championships, accruing the sort of experience he will need to get to the top of the podium in Glasgow.
“I haven’t gone professional because of everything that surrounds the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics,” he said. “The crowd, the atmosphere, it’s unique.
“Being in there with all the other sports and getting a chance to meet athletes from all over the world is something really special. Being at the Olympics, in front of 10,000 people screaming my name, was something else.
“I know it’s going to be the same here – only better, because it’s a Scottish crowd.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all. If anything, it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go and enjoy this experience. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.
“The crowd and the atmosphere, especially at a Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will be brilliant. Just to hear the people shout your name will be magic.”