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Josh Taylor admitted even he has been taken aback at how quickly his career has advanced as he looks to become the first Briton in the four-belt era to become undisputed world champion in just his 18th professional fight.
Hopes were high when the Scot switched to the paid ranks a year after claiming gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and he has established himself as one of the finest fighters in the UK by unifying the light-welterweight division.
Taylor, who holds the WBA and IBF titles, can further enhance his reputation when he takes on WBC and WBO champion Jose Ramirez on Saturday night, with the opportunity to make history not lost on the ‘Tartan Tornado’.
The 30-year-old told the PA news agency: “I always thought I would become world champion but the prospect of becoming undisputed champion was maybe a little bit too farfetched.
“Those undisputed fights are very few and far between these days and it’s just a dream come true, it’s a massive fight. I didn’t think I’d be fighting to become undisputed world champion and certainly not as quickly as this.
“If I pull this win off, which I believe I’m 100 per cent going to do, achievement-wise it’s going to be up there with the best of them. It would be a massive achievement to cement my name and legacy in the history books.”
Taylor’s last five opponents – Viktor Postol, Ryan Martin, Ivan Baranchyk, Regis Prograis and Apinun Khongsong – had a combined record of 110 victories and just one defeat prior to facing the Prestonpans fighter.
In Ramirez, Taylor (17-0, 13KOs) is taking on his fifth successive unbeaten opponent and victory this weekend would not only add to an already glowing CV but boost his standing in boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound list.
He is ranked ninth by the prestigious Ring Magazine, but Taylor said: “I’m not going to lose sleep about what number I’m at on pound-for-pound lists, it doesn’t really mean anything to me.
“As long as I am winning my fights and keeping my belts that’s all that matters. I let my results in the ring do the talking. I’m not in the game to be recognised but the recognition is starting to come now and deservedly so.
“I’ve had the chance during lockdown to reflect back on my achievements and I am super proud. It’s massive, it’s huge. I am proud of what I’ve done but it’s time to keep moving forward and setting new goals.”
While Taylor took out hard-hitting Thai fighter Khongsong last September inside a round, Ramirez (26-0, 17KOs) was pushed to his limits by Postol last August before the American recorded a majority decision win.
Before showing off his full range in stopping Maurice Hooker in July 2019, Ramirez laboured against Jose Zepeda five months earlier before squeaking through on points and Taylor is buoyed by his rival’s recent struggles.
Taylor, who himself was tested by Postol in June 2018 before dropping the Ukrainian en route to a wide points win, said of Ramirez: “He’s a great, come forward, pressure fighter.
“He attacks the body and head well and punches in bunches. It has the makings of a good fight but I see a lot of things in his game that I can exploit.
“I don’t think he has fought the same level of opponent as myself in his career.
“He’s only boxed Maurice Hooker. He boxed Jose Zepeda and was very lucky to get away with the decision, he was very lucky to get away with the decision against Viktor Postol as well. I’ve not been too impressed with his form.”