Josh Taylor on… his route to the top level
I wasn’t really interested in college, I was away a lot with boxing, falling behind with my coursework. I started sports fitness training to be a personal trainer, but boxing started taking over again. I got a job at a sports centre, as a lifeguard, part-time cover. Even then I kept missing it and ended up not having a job. I went to the Commonwealth Youth Games [in 2008] and got a bronze medal, I was raging with the result [of his semi-final with Guyana’s Clevon Rock. Taylor was 7-2 up but lost on an injury stoppage]. I’ve always been super competitive, it didn’t matter what I did, I wanted to win at everything. I was seriously p***ed off but even then I didn’t think I would medal at a Commonwealth Games or be a world champion. Two years later I got a silver in Delhi, two years after that I went to the Olympics, then in 2014 I won gold at the Commonwealths. It wasn’t until I went to my first Commonwealth Games, in Delhi, in 2010, and come back with silver, that I felt, ‘I think I can be good at this.’ I got onto Sheffield – the GB squad – after those Commonwealth Games and it was perfect timing, I could focus on boxing.
Josh Taylor on… overcoming injury
I think I had about 150 amateur bouts and lost 30-40. Half the losses were robberies, plus I had a lot of hand problems; they are probably the reason I missed out on a medal at the European and World Championships. I couldn’t even throw my left on the pads, never mind in sparring. I only had 12 days’ sparring leading up to the  Euros, I had to have the hand numbed before my fight and after it was like a balloon; I still thought I won against the Russian [Armen Zakaryan] who went on to win [Josh also lost to the eventual gold medallist in that year’s Worlds]. I had to have an operation on my left hand after the 2014 Commonwealth Games, a bone graft, I had the ligament in the joint cut out and bone from my hip put in. Everything has been okay since, I’ve had no problems with it at all. It actually feels great. I boxed with one hand for about two years and won the Commonwealths with one hand. I think that’s why my right is now more accurate than my left hand, because I was forced to develop it.
Josh Taylor on… his promoter, Cyclone
They’ve done a great job, absolutely brilliant, I don’t think I could have had a better start to my career with anyone else. My debut was over in Texas, then New York in my sixth fight, then Vegas in my eighth on the undercard to Carl [Frampton]’s fight [Leo Santa Cruz rematch]. Even now, every fight I’ve had is huge. I believe in my ability anyway, it doesn’t matter who I’m boxing against I believe I’m gonna win, but the matchmaking and the timing has been really good. I won the Commonwealth title in my seventh fight and it’s been big fights ever since. I always believed I would get to world title level and be involved in big fights, but I never thought it would be as quickly; it’s come around rapidly, with the WBSS.
Josh Taylor on… bringing big-time boxing back to Scotland
I’m just getting on with doing what I’m doing. I’m not really into comparing myself to other Scottish fighters. I’m really proud of Ricky Burns and Scott Harrison, but I try to be the best I can be. I’d like to think I could bring big fights to Scotland, my dream is to fight at Edinburgh Castle in the middle of summer and defend a world title; that would be brilliant.
Josh Taylor on… training camp life
I’ve been with my girlfriend for eight years. I go down to London for camp, come home every other weekend, sometimes I get her down to come see me. We’re staying in a flat Barry [McGuigan] had in Battersea Bridge. I stay with Lee McGregor, Chris Billam Smith and Josh Pritchard. It’s a good laugh in our gym, we’re often slagging each other, but when it’s time to go to work, we work. We do have a good time, we do stuff at nights together, like a big band of brothers. A couple of times we’ve been go karting, at the start of camp. We also go to the driving range, bowling. I broke the head off Josh’s 3-wood recently; it went further than the ball did!
Josh Taylor on… his other passion
I have been into motorbikes since I was a kid, I had my first motorbike at five years old. My first memories have been motorbikes, my first love, but it costs far too much money. I did race motocross for a little while, probably a year, but it costs too much. I’ve got a bike myself and my dad’s got two. My dad’s got a race bike, because he did racing again last year, a GSX-R600 Suzuki, I’ve got a semi-Suzuki, it’s like a motocross bike but with road tyres. I’ve actually not been out on it for more than a year now because boxing is my bread and butter and I don’t wanna come off and hurt myself. I’ll probably still ride it every now and again, I miss it and I still watch racing with me dad. Maybe I’ll be starting my MotoGP career when I finish boxing!