Boxing: ‘Lionheart’ Taylor heads to Kazakhstan for World Series

Amateur boxing star Josh Taylor will make his debut tomorrow night (Friday, December 7) for the British Lionhearts franchise in the third fixture of the World Series Boxing (WSB) event in Kazakhstan.

The 21-year-old lightweight fighter has enjoyed a remarkable year after qualifying to represent Team GB at the Olympics earlier this summer, a platform that has assisted in raising Taylor’s profile to new heights within the amateur boxing world.

Ahead of his first competitive fight since his second round defeat by Italian Domenico Valentino in London, Taylor admits he jumped at the chance to compete in a Champions League format that will pitch the British squad against 
franchises from Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and USA in Group B.

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Speaking ahead of the away tie against Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, Taylor said: “I was approached by the British squad to see if I would be interested in entering into the WSB. Britain has never had a franchise before so I was delighted they would be entering a team this year. I think I was one of the first to be asked so I can’t wait. I think I need a change and a fresh challenge so this is perfect for me and it also gives me a chance to win some extra money.

“I’m really excited about it all. I want to win every fight I’m in, but this is more of a team event. I’m also viewing this opportunity as a stepping stone for later in life when I aim to turn professional after the Commonwealth Games in 2014, so it’s about changing style and getting used to that kind of fighting. It’s not as if I will be fighting against journeymen. They will be up there with the very best.”

The Lochend prodigy has spent a considerable part of the last few months training at the state-of-the-art English Institute of Sport in Sheffield where he has benefitted from some of the very best in the business.

He added: “I am feeling ready for getting back into the ring and think I will settle back into it pretty well. I’ve been sparring with Ricky Burns over the past three to four weeks and been doing eight or nine rounds at a time with him, so it’s been brilliant and more than I could have hoped for.”