IN the ring, Scotland’s Josh Taylor is as composed and relaxed as any boxer in Britain right now. It’s what makes him such a standout talent and what could help land him a world title this Saturday (May 18).
But it’s outside the ring, when between training sessions and trying to rest, Taylor has often had trouble switching off and winding down.
Until recently, that is.
Since using CBD oil – also known as cannabis oil and perfectly legal – Taylor says he has has found his energy levels dipping at the right time and a good night’s sleep easier to come by. It has aided his preparation and allowed him to store up energy for when it is needed.
“I’m feeling surprisingly laid-back. I’m sleeping like a baby, which is probably down to the preparations,” he said.
“I’m taking CBD oil so maybe that’s why I’m so relaxed and chilled out!
“Joking aside, it does help me relax and focus. I’ve always had trouble sleeping at night, being a bit hyper and going over things, but the last few camps I’ve taken that stuff and it’s really helped.”
It’s not only that. Taylor, a Scot currently living in London, has also benefited from switching a hotel room for a flat, a move that has given him a greater stability.
“I’m happier and more settled down south,” he said. “I’m not living out of a suitcase in a hotel but with my girlfriend and dog in the flat.
“I can go back to the flat after my sessions in the gym, rather than just hanging about. I can walk the dog, go for something to eat, go and have a sleep. That’s a key factor.”
On Saturday, Taylor challenges IBF super-lightweight champion Ivan Baranchyk back in his home country. A win will land Taylor not only his first world title but also a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series (waiting for the winner is Regis Prograis).
“It’s always great to fight in front of my home fans, especially when it’s the biggest fight of my career,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to become a world champion in front of my fans, my friends and family. It’s a dream come true.
“Of course, I miss Scotland. I miss the banter and the carry-on. The patter is not the same down there.
“But I’m doing what I have to do to focus on my career and give it my best shot.”
They say victory is often decided by the smallest of margins. If true, a few extra hours in bed could end up making all the difference for Josh Taylor this weekend.
Australia’s former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn has conceded rising star Tim Tszyu, son of Kostya, could possibly beat him – just not right now.
Horn, 19-1-1 (13), famous for toppling the great Manny Pacquiao in 2017, made the admission after watching Tszyu defeat Joel Camilleri to win the Australian super-welterweight title on Wednesday night.
Afterwards, Tszyu called Horn out, hoping to secure a fight with his countryman, but Horn, 31, was quick to distance himself and remind the younger man there are levels to this game.
“It’s a future fight,” Horn said. “Those guys have already named a fight plan to get to me because they know they’re not ready now. That would be a loss in his career, and I don’t think they want that just yet.
“Even though his dad is confident he could beat me – yes, he possibly could beat me in the future – he can’t right now.”
Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan was even more bullish in his assessment of the potential fight. He described Tszyu as “a little boy trading off his father’s name” and rubbished trainer Johnny Lewis’ description of him as the face of Australian boxing.
“I think Tim is a new face, but not the face,” he said. “At the moment, he over-hyped by the Sydney media and under-performing in the ring.
“Tim says he wants to beat the best in Australia and talks about Michael Zerafa and Jeff Horn, but there is no mention of Dennis Hogan, who is the top Australian ranked fighter in Tim’s weight class.
“Hogan just fought for a world title and should have won but Tim has no interest in Hogan? He’s a boy talking big but walking small.”
Of course, whenever talk like this starts to build, there is always the possibility of it turning into something more tangible in the future. It is, after all, why they both open their mouths in the first place. It’s why they criticise and undermine each other and why sometimes the talk gets trashy. It’s why we, as fans, become invested.
Horn, no stranger to Aussie grudge matches (having recently boxed Anthony Mundine), knows what it takes to capitalise on a moment and a rivalry.
“It’s a massive fight,” said the 31-year-old. “Tszyu versus Horn or Horn versus Tszyu, however you want to say it, is a massive fight for Australian boxing.
“It could happen in the future, I don’t know. It’s potentially a big money earner. He’s got that surname that puts him up there. We’ll see in the next couple of fights how he is going.”
Twenty-four-year-old Tim’s famous fighting surname will no doubt be both a help and hindrance throughout his professional career. It will get him the attention he wants, as well as the attention he could do without. It will put him in line for the fights and opportunities he wants, as well as one or two he might be better off swerving.
It remains to be seen whether Jeff Horn, a one-time world champion, falls into the former category or the latter, but it will no doubt be fun finding out.