Taylor wants ‘big, bold statement’ against Lopez-News

Josh Taylor (right) had the chance to beat Jack Catterall after a lack of display in the final

Two years after the peak of his career, Josh Taylor is returning to the United States to remind everyone what a special fighter he is.

After defeating Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas to become the UK’s first undisputed champion at a time of four belts in May 2021, the Scot looks set to own the world.

Since then he has fought only once. And that was a much-contested victory against Jack Catterall in Glasgow.

He’s responded to criticism — and sometimes abuse — through social media and social media, but Taylor, 32, knows the best place to stop his critics is in the crowd.

The meeting on 10 June (11 June 03:00 BST) with American Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden gives him that opportunity.

“I have a small piece between my teeth so I can confidently say that I am the best [140lbs] fighter in the world and the best fighter in the UK pound for pound,” said Taylor.

“It’s a great privilege. Just saying – Madison Square Garden, Teofimo Lopez – just brings a big smile to my face, I’m flying high.

“I’m excited to fight in the Mecca of boxing. It gives me a fire in my belly just thinking about it, boxing in the same arena where all the greats shot.

“I have a bit between my teeth because of the flak I took after the last game. People are quick to forget what I have achieved in the game in a short time.

“Eighteen battles and being an undisputed champion, no one has ever done it, the first in the UK. People are quick to forget that,” he tells BBC Scotland at his training camp in Liverpool before leaving for the US on Friday.

There’s no denying it, though, things haven’t gone the way Taylor would have liked since Ramirez’s strike.

His only defense of four belts against Catterall in February last year was already seen as a stepping stone to bigger things.

But he admits he “took his eye off the ball”, cut corners in his preparation and rushed to his main home at the Hydro in Glasgow, leaving the ring with a chance to keep his titles after the judges denied Catterall a majority win. he thought he was worthy.

The rematch was long overdue and deals were agreed for the two to meet again in February before Taylor’s foot injury forced it to end.

The WBO – whose belt is the last of four world light-welterweight titles Taylor still holds after being forced to vacate the others – has listed Lopez as his challenger, so the stage is set for an exciting encounter.

Vasyl Lomachenko fights Teofimo Lopez
His win against Vasyl Lomachenko marks Teofimo Lopez (left) as a formidable opponent for Josh Taylor.

The 25-year-old caught the world’s attention with a stunning win over Vasyl Lomachenko in 2020 and, while his star has fallen a bit after a loss to George Kambosos and a string of performances since his move up to light-welterweight. she remains the centerpiece of the office because of her fun looks and confidence.

“You don’t beat Lomachenko if you’re not a good fighter,” says Taylor. “He is very good, he has good manners.

“He’s fast, he’s fast, he looks very strong and he’s got a good boxing brain, so I’ve got my hands full.

“He might be a very talented boxer going 12 rounds but I think with his looks and his personality, I don’t have to go looking for him, the way I draw, you don’t have to go looking for me if you want a fight.

“It has the potential to be a firecracker – fireworks from the start. One of us is going to get caught and I don’t see us seeing the final bell if that’s the case – I see him going backwards.

“He’s got a lot of mistakes and he makes a lot of mistakes. I can see him going down quickly.”

Taylor’s struggle to get to 140lb for the Catterall fight has been well documented and he has suggested that his days as a light-welterweight are numbered.

Although he still feels a move to welterweight is imminent, ‘Tartan Tornado’ believes he can drop down to 10 without getting stronger.

“The weight is good this time, we’re on target and I’m doing everything right. I know I can do it, I’m a 140-pounder. Making weight as I grow. A move to welterweight will be inevitable.

“But we have big fights up to 140. Rematch with Regis Prograis, matches with Jack Catterall, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia up to 140, so there are big fights.

“Legacy-wise, I still want to be a two-weight world champion. I want to go to welterweight and compete with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence.”

In connection with his struggle with his weight, there was a suggestion that Taylor had erred in his tactics against Catterall.

Despite his close relationship with manager Ben Davison, Taylor moved to Liverpool to join Joe McNally.

“It was a big decision,” Taylor said. “I just felt like I was finally getting away from my big values ​​- that made me.

“I just felt ‘why try to fix something that isn’t broken?’ I’m back to my old life with Joe and a new team around me – new ideas.

“I like the way he does boxing, how hard he works and how smart he is. He’s a very smart guy Joe but he has such a control over him.

“I wish I would have found him a few years ago because that’s when I finished all my work.”

Passing the BBC signUnder the BBC

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