JOSH TAYLOR is so close to where he wants to be. His goal is to become the undisputed champion. He holds two of the four major belts at 140lbs. Jose Ramirez has the others. “That is the goal. I think I can get that fight next. I think it’s great for the sport having a fight for all the belts, rather than doing loads of mandatories,” Taylor tells Boxing News. “I think that we should just go straight for the fight. I think I deserve it, especially the last four performances, the last four big fights, I think I deserve that fight next and I think Ramirez deserves it too.
“It’s mouth-watering. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. That’s exactly what I want to happen next.”
Ramirez has stated he wants to fight Taylor next too. The American got through a recent defence against Viktor Postol, the Scotsman must do the same against Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong on Saturday (September 26) behind closed doors at York Hall in Bethnal Green. “I’m fully switched on because I feel I’m on the final hurdle before getting these big fights. This guy’s standing in the way of it. If I make any hiccup now that’s my dreams and ambitions gone,” Taylor says.
He’d like this contest to set up him for an undisputed bout later in the year. “Hopefully, and if it is the big fight, I would much rather that happen when fans are in,” he said. “An undisputed fight with no fans takes away the wow factor and the magnitude of the fight. So I’d much rather that fight be when fans are allowed back in. I want to get back to normal as soon as possible.”
Ramirez’s last fight, against mutual opponent Postol, only gives Taylor more confidence. “I watched the fight. I wasn’t too impressed with what I saw. I thought Postol had a very good fight. I scored the fight a draw myself. I thought it was a very good performance from Postol, not so good from Ramirez. I think he probably can perform a little bit better than that. I wasn’t impressed with what I saw so I’m quite happy,” Josh said.
He’s aware that England’s Jack Catterall is the mandatory for the WBO title that Ramirez holds. “Jack’s sitting in a good position himself. I think that fight [between Taylor and Ramirez] should take it’s natural course. I think he should let that happen,” Taylor adds. “Obviously I can see Jack Catterall’s point of view but ultimately I want that to happen to next… But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All I’m thinking about is [Khongsong]. I’m not thinking about anything else because that’s when you see things go wrong.”
He does not consider the Thai to be an easy opponent. “He’s as tall as myself, he’s 16-0 as well, 13 knockouts,” Taylor said. “One more knockout than myself. I have seen the limited footage that there is of him. He punches through the target. He’s got quite good timing, decent hands when he lets them go. We’re going to have to watch what we’re doing. He looks like he carries a lot of power. But we do see flaws and I think we’ve got a gameplan to expose them.”
“We’re very wary that he’s going to have power. In terms of stylistically boxing, I don’t think he’s going to have anything that I’ve not seen before. I’ve got the abundance of experience in the amateurs as well. I’ve been all over the world, fighting in empty arenas all over the place, had big fights, fought in front of no one and seen all the styles I can almost imagine getting thrown at you in the amateurs. I had over 150 fights, so I’ve seen every single style you could imagine, you could possibly get. So I don’t think he’ll have anything that I’ve not seen before,” the champion continued. “I don’t think he’s used to having the crowd, that’s maybe one thing that maybe does work in his favour. I think it’s irrelevant really to what the outcome of the fight’s going to be. But I’ve got to be switched on and for sure he’s switched on because it’s his big chance.”
As well as linking up with a new promoter in Top Rank, he has a new trainer in Ben Davison. The two have taken advantage of a long training camp to gel in their partnership. “We’re working on sharpening our strengths, getting stronger and working a little bit on my weaknesses as well, things that I’ve been neglecting in my last couple of fights. Things I can do well, really well, just I haven’t been doing anywhere near enough of in the last couple of my fights. We’ve been working well together, sharpening up the tools again, getting back to the basics of what is the make up of my style. So it’s been really good.
“We’ve come to an understanding. He’s not going to change my style or change the way I fight because what we were doing was working. So fine tuning the things he sees I can improve on,” Taylor explains. “It’s been good. It’s been a fresh start. I never fell out of love with boxing but I’ve just got a renewed love for it.
“You’re going to see, still the same old Josh Taylor, still ruthless, still aggressive and hurtful and spiteful. Just a wee bit more finesse. More complete. I think there’s only one winner and it’s myself.”