Tartan Tornado set to take Belfast by Storm

By Paul Gibson

Josh Taylor is a lucky man. While headliner Conrad Cummings heads to the gym for a final sweat session to make weight for today’s All On The Line weigh-in in the Waterfront Hall, Taylor settles down for chat over a plate of scrambled egg in the Europa Hotel.

“I’m already bang on weight,” he tells me. “I’ll have a hot bath after this and I’ll be fine.”

Fine, that is, for his third professional outing tomorrow night on the undercard of his stablemate Cummings battling Belfast’s Alfredo Meli for the Celtic middleweight title. He’ll face a Romanian by the name of Daniel Cosmin Minescu and Josh confesses he knows little to nothing about his opponent.

“All I’ve seen is his record but to be honest records don’t really mean anything. He has two fists and I have a chin so I’ll need to go in and do a job.”

A job is exactly what he did on his previous opponent Adam Mate in under 90 seconds in Edinburgh last month. With a 17-5 record, Mate should have been a test but the Tartan Tornado simply blew him away. After putting in the hard, tortuous yards in the gym, I wonder if it is a slightly bittersweet result to get barely a minute to perform on the night.

“I’d love a few rounds,” Taylor admits, “but at the same time if I see an opening I’ll take it. This is my living and a serious business so you can’t mess about.”

“Having not seen any of this guy, it’s hard to have a specific plan other than to box. You can have a general structure but when the first bell goes everything can change and you have to adapt.”

The only thing that is likely to change after the first bell tomorrow night is Minescu converting from a vertical to a horizontal stance, but it is still reassuring to see that Taylor is fully aware that anything can happen in this cruellest of sports. “One punch is all it takes,” is how the Scotsman puts it.

That said, victory tomorrow puts him near the front of the queue to fight on the undercard of the mammoth Frampton Quigg bill in the Manchester Arena on February 27th. Taylor flew over to Northern Ireland yesterday morning to sample the atmosphere of the final press conference between the two super-bantamweight champions and it clearly had an effect on the light-welterweight.

“It was an amazing atmosphere,” he marvels, “and just shows you how big it’s going to be next February. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that and fight in front of all those fans in Manchester.”

Taylor should be there but it might not be too long until he is generating a similar buzz in his own country. With Ricky Burns coming to the end of his own fantastic career, there’s a gaping hole in Scottish boxing that Josh is tailor-made to fill. He’s too humble to fully admit it, but I sense he is already allowing himself to dream.

First things first, however, and Taylor’s sights are firmly set on making it three and O in the Waterfront tomorrow night.

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