WBO world super-lightweight world champion, Josh Taylor (19-0 13KOs), is highly confident that he can make an emphatic statement and claim a knockout against Teofimo Lopez (18-1 13KOs) this upcoming Saturday at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.
Taylor, who has been out of the ring following his controversial points win over Jack Catterall in February last year, has seen Taylor lose his undisputed champion status and has relinquished or vacated his WBC, WBA & IBF world titles. Injuries have also played a significant factor, which prevented two scheduled rematches against Catterall.
Taylor is fully confident he can produce a stoppage against the former unified lightweight champion Lopez. However, Taylor has all bases covered if the fight turns into a boxing affair and not the fight he is predicting it will be.
“The way I think he’s going to fight, we’ll put him out of there early,” Taylor told Sky Sports. “But if it goes the other way, which I think it might do as well, it’ll be a boxing match, a clever boxing match, but nothing that I’m going to be surprised with.
“I’ve watched him quite a bit in the lead-up to this fight, and I think I know what I’m expecting. But whatever he brings, I’m more than ready for.
“Having said that, the fighter that beat Lomachenko is the version of Teofimo Lopez that I’m preparing for; a very good fighter.”
Another leading factor for Taylor is that he will face Lopez with a new trainer in the corner in the shape of Joe McNally, who has split from his previous trainer, Ben Davidson.
The switch, Taylor believes, has helped him rediscover his “mojo” regarding his confidence, and he feels he is back to his “old chirpy self” once again.
“I’ve got - I’ve said it so many times - my mojo back. I feel like I’ve got it back. I just feel like I’m back to my old chirpy self. The way I was before in the lead up to the [Regis] Prograis fight. I feel I’m back to that kind of mentality. That sort of form as well,” Taylor said.
“I wouldn’t say the love for the game was lost,” Taylor continued. “I just felt like there was just something always missing, that one link missing that I was looking for that I wasn’t able to get out. The full potential out of myself.
“There’s none of that now. I feel like I’m unlocking my full potential and can be myself and improving as well, improving on the bits of my game that I need to improve on. I just feel like I’m firing on all cylinders.”
A war of words is expected to come to a head-on fight week as the pair have traded various verbals towards each other during the lead-up so far in the lead-up to the June 10th encounter. Lopez made the unsavoury comment that he will be aiming to take the life of Taylor by saying “So what can I really take from this man? His life. His life. The only way I’mma make a statement is by doing that. I’m not sorry about that.”
Taylor insists that Lopez’s comments haven’t bothered him and that he doesn’t care what Lopez thinks about him.
“His personality is just a little bit irritating. He’s said a few things about me for a couple of years now,” the Briton said. “You’ve run your mouth for a couple of years, now you’re going to pay for it.
“There will be verbal jousting at some point in fight week but at that point I’m just ready to fight you know, I don’t really care about mind games and all that kind of stuff. I know I can get in his head, and I know I can manipulate him but I’m not really too bothered about it.”