As undefeated Prestonpans boxer Josh Taylor continues his preparations for the biggest 12 rounds of his life, coach Terry McCormack has allowed nostalgia to get the better of him this week.
Owner of Lochend Boxing Club, and Taylor’s first mentor more than a decade ago, he believes it was the 28-year-old’s destiny to become an icon of the sport – even from a young age.
Taylor is already held in the highest regard having won the IBF world super lightweight title by defeating the Belarusian Ivan Baranchyk at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro in May. He now has the opportunity to unify the division on Saturday night on the banks of the River Thames when he faces the undefeated American WBA champion Regis Prograis in the final of the World Boxing Super Series, a contest which will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The winner will also take home the prestigious Ring Magazine title as well as the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
McCormack, who will again be in Taylor’s corner at the O2 Arena alongside trainer Shane McGuigan, said: “I actually came across an old DVD just a few days ago in my filing cabinet and it was from the Scottish title from more than ten years ago.
“Josh was not long starting out but his punching power, even back then, was just incredible. It just showed how special he was and he’s just got better and better. When Josh was down training at the gym, he’d go around writing on notepads ‘Josh Taylor world champion’ so it’s all he’s ever thought about.
“We did a lot of talking in the early days about life and where he wanted to be. We even walked along the front of Seafield Road and went into all the garages along there to try to get him a sponsor.
“They all told us no, came up with every excuse under the sun and to come back later. I bet they regret it now. But we always knew he was going to become world champion.”
When Taylor agreed professional terms with Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions in 2015, the Scot ensured McCormack was part of the deal.
“I’m not one for taking a pat on the back,” he said. “I’m proud how you would be of your own son but not for all the money and fame, and Josh is like that too. Maybe that rubbed off on him. He’s told me that it’s great we’re all still together so we’re a big team, including the McGuigans. I get on really well with Shane and Barry. I’ve been in his corner from day one and I’ll be there again on Saturday night.
“When Josh boxes, nobody on this planet can touch him. So, it’s important to keep him focused and on the gameplan.
“Josh will always be a world champion, you can’t take that away from him so he can go out and enjoy it.
“I believe we’re now all about to see the best Josh Taylor there is. When you’ve got two world champions in the same ring then it’s a 50/50 fight. But Prograis hasn’t done it the hard way like Josh has. He’s had the easy route.
“I didn’t think he would be topping the bill in London, perhaps Easter Road first, but it’s just the way it’s happened. Josh relishes the big stage.”
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