Josh Taylor appreciates the opportunity he has been given in life and intends to enjoy the ride while he can.
The Edinburgh boxer acknowledged that, as a professional athlete, his career in the limelight won’t last forever.
“I’m enjoying the experience. It’s not going to last so this will be the best time of my life. I’m getting paid for doing something I love,” he said candidly at yesterday’s final press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s bout with Mexican Miguel Vazquez, the former IBF world lightweight champion, at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh.
The 26-year-old’s last victory over the previously undefeated Ohara Davies in July propelled the Scot up the world rankings [No 6 in the WBC] where another triumph this weekend, he believes, would take him to within touching distance of the biggest prize of them all.
“I have to get through this one but I don’t feel any pressure, I enjoy it and soak it all up. Live for the moment I say,” the current WBC Silver and Commonwealth super lightweight champion said with purpose.
“I’ve always believed that I can go on and be a world champion so it’s no surprise that I’m doing well, without sounding big-headed.”
Taylor admits his new-found fame has had its advantages of late. When asked if he has been recognised when out and about on the streets of the capital, he said: “A wee bit more, yes. Especially after the last fight so you have to give Ohara a wee bit of credit for that with all the talking he did beforehand in bigging up the fight. Everybody wanted to see him getting beat so that upped my profile as well.
“I was out shopping with my mate after the last fight and we were going to go for a few drinks after. The guy working there recognised me and gave me a few quid off the stuff, which was good. I bought three or four pairs of jeans and he gave me a couple of them for nothing.
“Then, when we went out for drinks, there were guys buying me a few pints. I hardly spent a penny so it was brilliant. I ended up going home with more money than I went out with!”
For now, though, hitting the pubs and clubs in town couldn’t be further from the Prestonpans fighter’s mind.
Taylor is only too aware of the threat Vazquez poses to ending his undefeated record. The Mexican, who is four years Taylor’s senior, has shared the ring with some of the very best in the business and come through those bouts unscathed.
The 30-year-old has 39 wins to his name from 44 professional contests and is yet to lose by knockout. However, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist sees no reason why he can’t write himself into the history books as being the first man to do so.
“Once the first bell rings we’ll see how he fights. I expect that he’s going to wait on me trying to attack him because he’s a counter-puncher. I’m going to be patient but keep the pressure on and outwork him,” Taylor said. “I think I can outlast him. If I feel tired I can take a rest at some point as I can’t go full pelt for 36 minutes. I don’t think he’ll push the fight, it will be down to me.
“I’ve been in camp for 14 weeks now and I’m in the best shape of my life. But this guy has only lost to top-level fighters so I’ll need to be at the top of my game.
“I am confident, though, I can stop him but I’m not too bothered about the knockout as it’s about putting in a strong performance and dominating him.
“It would be a huge statement to stop him and it would really get my name out there in the boxing world.
“Even if I don’t stop him, if I batter him about then people will take notice. The win is the most important thing.”