Josh Taylor preparing to take on world says Barry McGuigan

Josh Taylor is on course to fight for a world title within the year, according to his manager Barry McGuigan, and the Scottish boxer already has a couple of dream venues in mind for such major bouts.

Josh Taylor and Miguel Vazquez will meet in Edinburgh on 11 November. 
Picture: Ian Georgeson
Josh Taylor and Miguel Vazquez will meet in Edinburgh on 11 November. Picture: Ian Georgeson

He is keen to make history by staging a home match at Edinburgh Castle and, having missed out on a lads’ trip to Las Vegas for the Mayweather v McGregor fight after he put training first, he says that sacrifice will be worth it if he can return to the strip one day for a bill-topping showdown.

The undefeated WBC Silver and Commonwealth super lightweight champion defeated Ohara Davies in an all-British bout in July and will be back in the ring on November 11 to take on his toughest challenge yet, against former IBF world lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez, at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.

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The event is being billed as Risk vs Reward, with McGuigan admitting that his fighter will face a difficult night but he is confident that he will come through the test and take a major stride towards a tilt at a world title before the end of 2018.

“I think within 12 months he will be fighting for a world title. The number of fights doesn’t matter. This is a step up and a huge challenge, but you can’t hold talent back.

“You can waste two years in the gym fighting moderate opposition. Or you can give him a challenge. We’ve thought very carefully about Miguel Vazquez. He’s not a banger but he’s awkward and moves around all the time. So Josh is going to have to deal with all of his styles. His resume is amazing, we know that, and he’s fought and beaten the very best in the business. He’s only lost to the superstars. But I honestly believe Taylor is that good.

“You have to be careful not to put your foot in your mouth in this job. But I think Josh will take care of Vazquez. It will be a competitive fight and he might not stop him, but I think he’ll beat him comprehensively. Vazquez if very durable – he’s never been stopped – but these are the fights we want for Josh.

“It’s about reinforcing belief he can do it but I am hugely excited about the future.”

With 10 wins from his 10 fights since turning professional in 2015, the Scottish southpaw is on the fast-track to the top and he says he does not mind if victory over the Mexican is a points victory or a KO, so long as it takes him closer to his dream.

“He has been in with some world-class fighters and never been stopped so it would be a statement and a half if I could do it. That will be the aim. But everyone asks me if I was 
gutted about not stopping Alfonso Olvera in Vegas. I was more annoyed about my performance than not getting the stoppage. I don’t go out to knock people out.

“But I do believe in my punching power. I know if I catch Vazquez, I’ll hurt him and if I hurt him, I’ll jump on him and try to stop him. I don’t go out looking for it but it would send out a message.”

It would vindicate his decision to swap a trip to Las Vegas for some hard gym work.

“I was planning to go over with Carl [Frampton] and Conrad [Cummings] for Mayweather v McGregor and blow off a bit steam but Barry told me about this fight and I cancelled the trip straight away.

“Boxing is more important. This is my life, so it was back to business, no questions asked.

“I was a bit gutted, especially when the boys were tagging me in social media. I had to turn it off for a couple of days. But these are the sacrifices you need to make to get to where you want to go. Vegas will always be there.

“Hopefully the next time I am there it will be me involved in a big fight and I can enjoy it.

“When I was over there in January for Carl’s fight with Santa Cruz, I remember seeing his face on the billboards outside the MGM Grand. I was thinking that could be me one day. It’s a huge motivation.”

With McGuigan predicting the 26-year-old will soon be ready for a title fight, Taylor is keen to build the momentum, and knows that victory in Edinburgh, in November, will take him closer to his dream

“This fight could really open the door. If I can come through it I will be in the top five in the WBC rankings and banging on the door for world title fights. I’d love to make history and fight at the Castle.”

l Tickets for Taylor v Vazquez on Saturday, 11 November, at the Royal Highland Centre, go on sale at 10am tomorrow via www.ticketmaster.co.uk or on 0844 844 0444.