Like many fighters in recent weeks, Josh Taylor has had the rug pulled out from under him. First he was supposed to make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against the unbeaten Apinun Khongsong on May 2. Then due to the coronavirus global pandemic, his fight was called off.
Now, the 29-year-old IBF and WBA unified super lightweight champion Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) isn’t even sure if he will fight at all again in 2020 after abruptly having to break from his pre-fight training camp in Las Vegas.
"Hopefully it all goes well but I might not even fight this year,” Taylot told IFL. "When we get back to normality, hopefully I become the undisputed champion and move up to 147."
Aside from Khongsong, Taylor, who is coming off a resounding victory and fight of the year candidate over Regis Prograis in October, has eyes for Jose Ramirez, owner of the WBC and WBO crowns at 140 pounds.
"I've been told by my management that if I do get the Ramirez fight that it might happen in the UK," said Taylor. "Even non-title fights at 147 [pounds] are massive because all the names are up there. You've got [Keith] Thurman, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao.
"Some of those fights might happen in Scotland … I want to give the Scottish fans big fights. Obviously I want to go to America and see my name in bright lights at MGM or Madison Square Garden - every fighter dreams of that."
Taylor, who recently signed a promotional pact with Top Rank, has teamed up with a new trainer in Ben Davison, who also has coaching duties with Billy Joe Saunders and previously with Tyson Fury.
"With Ben I'm learning different techniques. I'm getting more leverage on my left hand and my jab's a bit longer," said Taylor. "We're making leaps and bounds so it's just a shame we've not been able to put what I've been learning into practice … I don't think I'm going to see Ben for the foreseeable, so we're going to be starting again really once we get back to it."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.