Focused Taylor ready for Lopez after feeling "lost" under Davison

Josh Taylor has revealed that he felt he had “lost himself” before recruiting Joe McNally to be his new trainer, and therefore has complete conviction in their ability to confront the test of Teofimo Lopez on Saturday night.

The WBO super lightweight champion defends his title against Lopez at the theatre at Madison Square Garden, and does so on the occasion of his first fight since being awarded the decision against Jack Catterall despite producing his worst performance.

He has since separated with Ben Davison – who succeeded Shane McGuigan for two fights – and teamed up with McNally in Liverpool, and after a lengthy period considering moving to 147lbs has already been rewarded by comfortably making weight for Saturday night.

“I’ve found myself again,” the 32-year-old, who made 139.8lbs, told ProBox TV. “After the Prograis fight I was a little bit lost when I moved coaches and tried to get settled back in. I had a great time with Ben and we worked well in the two fights we had – the [Jose Carlos] Ramirez fight – I just felt in the end I wasn’t getting out what I needed from it. 

“I didn’t really feel it was working for me in the end. So therefore I wasn’t really putting my full trust and my full faith in the people that was around me at the time, because I wasn’t happy and wasn’t getting the best out of myself.

“I decided to move on and do what’s best for me and took a long time to make this decision to team up with Joe and I feel like I’ve hit the ground running with him. I’ve known Joe for a long time, and feel like I could trust him with my life because I’ve got to know him really well personally and know his mind a little bit more. He’s very like-minded, like myself, mentality-wise, so I feel like I’ve got the perfect team around me and I’ll be with these guys the rest of my career and great friends afterwards as well.

“I come up to Liverpool for a week, for a trial, to get to know him, and there was too many people around in the gym, so I never really got the most out of the week, so I went back up the road and sat on it for a little while. The work we did do was great, but I didn’t immerse myself in it.I phoned him a couple of weeks later and said, ‘Do you want to come up to Scotland for a week, come stay with me?’, and I had the chance to get to know him. Pick his brains; his mentality on life, and on boxing as well. 

“We’re very, very like-minded, mentality-wise. I got to know him as a man. We started training the next day, hit it off, and started flying straight away. ‘This is the guy for me.’ I took my time to make that decision. I come back down to Liverpool and met Declan [O’Rourke, my assistant trainer] and all the other guys in the gym and they’ve welcomed me with open arms, like a family.” 

Victory over the 25-year-old Lopez would represent one of the biggest in Taylor’s career. It would also lead to further lucrative fights in a division in which Catterall, Ryan Garcia, Regis Prograis, and potentially Devin Haney, are among the other biggest names.

“The work we’ve been doing in the gym and the way we’re very open and honest with each other – if things are going shit, we’ll say, ‘That’s shit’, and he’ll tell me,” Taylor continued of McNally. “If my attitude’s been off he’ll tell me. He’s been straight. Keeps me in line. I’ll give him my opinions as well. 

“It’s a very give-and-take relationship, but in the gym he’s the boss, so we’ve got that respect and discipline with each other as well as being able to have a great laugh and wind each other up. I’ve absolutely no fears that I can trust these guys and trust their opinions, because of the work we’ve been doing.”