'I'm still the man' - Josh Taylor out to silence critics in Teofimo Lopez MSG bout

Josh Taylor <i>(Image: Wow Hydrate)</i>
Josh Taylor (Image: Wow Hydrate)

Josh Taylor is the first to admit he has a chip on his shoulder over the response to his last title defence.

The undefeated Scotsman faced furious backlash - leading to threats to his family - after his controversial win over Jack Catterall in February last year.

Sixteen months on and the social media abuse remains but, crucially, so does Taylor's unrelenting self-belief that helped catapult him to becoming the only British male undisputed champion in the four-belt era.

Since then, Taylor has vacated three of his four belts but he will defend the WBO super lightweight strap against Teofimo Lopez on June 10.

And Taylor is out to silence his critics or in his words "put the middle fingers up to a whole load of people" with a statement victory at Madison Square Garden.

The Wow Hydrate sponsored athlete explained: "I'm dead excited for this, even just mentioning it going in Madison Square Garden, the lion's den. These are the fights that get fire in my belly and keep me excited and keep me wanting to do this.

"With what I've achieved and the level I am at in the sport I need this now. I need the fights that give me the butterflies and excitement in the belly to keep the motivation going. This has got an abundance.

"I think it can be a mixture of a few ways. It could be a nice long 12-round boxing match but I really think it's going to be a short, sharp firefight. I'll be surprised if it does go the twelve rounds.

READ MORE: Josh Taylor on rediscovering his hunger after Jack Catterall bout

"I know I'm the best guy in the division. I've had one bad performance in ten years and all of a sudden I'm finished, I'm done, I'm past it.

"I have got a little bit of a chip on my shoulder in this one to put the middle fingers up to a whole load of people after this one as well. You can say I told you so, I'm still the man."

Taylor, 32, has reached the summit of pro boxing in an unprecedented rise of epic proportion only ever slightly dampened by his Hydro bout with Catterall.

The Tartan Tornado is well aware he made the cardinal sin of underestimating his opponent back then but is confident he won't make the same mistake twice.

Further to his own attitude adjustment, Taylor has switched up his team for his camp training out of Liverpool with Joe McNally and Declan O’Rourke after parting ways with former trainer Ben Davison.

"A little bit," said Taylor of complacency playing a part against Catterall. "But for me, given what I have achieved in 18 fights...nobody has ever done that, I think the only person who became an undisputed world champion in less than 20 fights is Oleksandr Usyk.

"That's the caliber of opponents and the level that I am at. I'm up there with the best and nobody has ever done what I've done in the UK.

"After that fight, it was like I was on top of Mount Everest and a bit of complacency started creeping in. I sort of underestimated the last opponent which is the worst mistake anyone can ever make, but you're only human.

"The new team now I've got Joe and Declan as my coaches, they keep me very honest - if I'm being s*** or being a d***head then they'll say 'Right, you're being a d***head, you're being an asshole, wise up'.

"They keep me honest, they keep me good and they keep me on my toes."


Despite the split in training regime, Prestonpans-born Taylor still keeps in contact with Davison.

On the split, he explained: "I felt I was being taken away from what my main attributes were and what makes me, me.

"There was no animosity between us and we came to a very amicable split. I still speak to Ben on the regular, we still keep in touch and have a good laugh.

"Just in the end it wasn't working for me so I do what's best for myself, I'm the one that is in there at the end of the day taking the punches.

"I've got to do what's best for myself."

Upcoming opponent Teofimo Lopez threatened to end Taylor's life at Maddison Square Garden in a hugely controversial piece of trash talk this week.

But Taylor shrugged off the claim and already has plans of his next opponents with the Catterall rematch, Regis Prograis, and a jump up to welterweight - with the end goal of becoming a two-weight champion - on his mind.

"We've got loads of fighters," said Taylor of what comes next after Lopez. "Obviously, we've got the rematch there with Jack Catterall which was always there. That's always going to be there no matter what.

"We don't know when it is going to happen, he is sort of on his own path now but that's always there.

"I've got the fight with Regis Prograis there as well, which I think would be a great fight as well as the rematch.

"He's claiming he's number one in the division now, he's got my WBC belt; you know it's still mine, I never lost it I vacated it.

"I've also got options to go up to welterweight and have a big fight up there and hopefully the chase of becoming a two-weight world champion which is still a massive goal of mine.

"I've still got plenty of big years and big fights in this dog yet."

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