Taylor plotting redemption against Lopez as main objective for 2024

Former undisputed super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor has redemption on his mind as the new year begins. 

Taylor (19-1, 13KOs) wants a rematch with Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13KOs), who convincingly defeated the Scotsman in New York last July. 

Taylor had entered the contest with Lopez as the betting favourite, with Lopez posting a sub-standard performance against Sandor Martin before his fight before. 

Taylor had previously managed to win a controversial decision against domestic rival Jack Catterall in February 2022, but he was forced to vacate three of his world titles following the contest with Catterall to secure a lucrative rematch with the Chorley man. However, injuries delayed and ultimately collapsed the return fight and the WBO mandated Lopez for the Scot to defend his WBO belt against.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Taylor said he was targeting a rematch with Lopez as a priority but he would not rule out a rematch with Catterall.

“In my opinion, he is the No. 1 now in the 140-pound division,” Taylor said of Lopez. “He beat the man who was the man, who had all the belts, who was undisputed champion.” 

“He beat Lomachenko. Then he beat me who was undisputed. I’d love to correct that wrong and box him again. I would love to fight him. There’s the big one, the obvious one [Catterall] that I’d like to do as well. I’ll fight anybody.”

Taylor still reckons he can make 140lbs despite admitting previously to struggles, but he also believes he is capable of performing at welterweight and hopes to capitalise on a title opportunity if Terence Crawford vacates his three world title belts at 147lbs.

“I can still do 140lbs,” Taylor continued. “I’m big enough and strong enough for 147 as well.

“[Crawford is] unrealistic just now for me… Get a good fight at welter and then hopefully get in for a title shot.

“Crawford vacating his belts and if the belts all become fragmented, then I can get a shot, hopefully at a title.”

A possible opponent for Taylor within the Top Rank stable is Giovani Santillan, who impressed in his knockout victory over Alexis Rocha in October. Santillan is currently the WBO’s No. 1 contender at welterweight, while Taylor is currently ranked at No. 5. 

That it is a fight that could easily be made and Taylor wants to return as soon as possible.

“That one could be in-house [Santillan],” he concluded. “It would be made pretty easily as well. There are a lot of big fights out there at 140 and 147 pounds. The future’s looking bright. I want to get back in as soon as possible and get the momentum going.”