IT could be the mother of all Christmas parties. A week before Santa gets on his round, Scotland’s undisputed world boxing champion Josh Taylor finally returns home for his own big day.
Not since he defeated Ivan Baranchyk to pick up his first world title in May 2019 has the self-styled Tartan Tornado fought in front of a Scottish audience.
Covid permitting, then, a full house will pack out Glasgow’s Hydro arena to see the global king of the super-lightweight division put on a show on Saturday December 18.
In the away corner and ready to fulfil the role of festive pantomime villain will be England’s Jack Catterall who previously stepped aside to allow Taylor the chance to take on American Jose Ramirez with all four belts on the line.
A gentlemen’s agreement was struck at that point between the two MTK Global stablemates and Taylor has proved good to his word, eschewing the chance to take on a bigger name to give the undefeated Catterall (26-0) his crack at glory.
Not, though, if Taylor has any say in it, of course, as the 30 year-old enters what he describes as “the final chapter” of his boxing odyssey.
“I’m majorly excited, it’s like a homecoming fight for me,” he said after penning an agreement to have all his future bouts shown live on Sky Sports.
“It’s the first fight in Scotland since I won the title against Ivan Baranchyk at the Hydro just over two years ago. I’ve been on the road since then so I’m delighted that I’m back in my second home.
“I’ve had major success in the Hydro at the Commonwealth Games and a few other big fights there since.
“It’s a great fight to be involved with as well. It’s the old Scotland vs England thing which should create a great atmosphere with both sets
“I don’t have any doubt that it will be a full house as people were very frustrated that they couldn’t get over to America for the Ramirez fight.
“Jack did a good thing in letting the Ramirez fight happen first. But there was method behind his madness in his decision to step aside. He knew full well that on the back of it he would get a shot at all four belts rather than just the two belts that Ramirez had.
“I like Jack and I’ve got a lot of time for him. He seems like a good guy. But come fight week any respect for him goes out the window. He’s the enemy and the guy standing in the way of my dreams and ambitions. I have to get rid of him and come out victorious.
“And I’d like to have a lot of local lads on the undercard. Scotland has been starved of boxing shows for the last couple of years. So if I can have any say I’d like to get the Scots involved and get them a chance to showcase their skills on a big night in Glasgow.”
More lucrative fights await Taylor at welterweight, including a mouthwatering clash with Terence Crawford. But he is in no rush to move up a weight division.
“I could be a career 140-pounder. There are still massive fights at that weight, with guys coming up from 135lb and others already there. But I think I’ve proved I’m the best in the division and I’d like to set new goals and become a
two-weight world champion and face the likes of Terence Crawford and Yordenis Ugas.
I’d like to challenge myself against the best in that division as well.”
Tylor had been annoyed that no television broadcaster had picked up the Ramirez fight so was happy to get belated recognition as Sky move to fill the void left by Matchroom’s defection to DAZN.
“Sky is a monster of a machine, the biggest and best platform in the UK by far,” said the Top Rank boxer.
“I feel this has come at the perfect time – and not before time as well. I’ve finally got the platform I deserve and Sky will make sure I get the best exposure possible.
“I like to call it the final chapter. I’m obviously nowhere near the end but these are the last moves that I’m going to be making. I’m going to be settled and I believe this is going to be the best part of my career with a lot of big fights.”