Josh Taylor still considers himself boxing’s undisputed 140-pound champion.

The Scottish southpaw relinquished three of his four titles after defending each of those belts against Jack Catterall 15 months ago, but Taylor can’t see how any of the other champions in his division could claim he is not the man to beat in it. Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) is the only opponent to beat WBC champion Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs), Subriel Matias (19-1, 19 KOs) stopped unproven Jermias Ponce (30-1, 20 KOs) to win the IBF belt Taylor gave up last year and Rolando “Rolly” Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) scored a controversial ninth-round stoppage against Ismael Barroso (24-4-2, 22 KOs) last month to win the then-vacant WBA championship.

Taylor, 32, will defend the only title he kept, the WBO junior welterweight crown, against mandatory challenger Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) on Saturday night in New York. ESPN will broadcast their 12-round championship bout as the main event of a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. EDT.

“You have to beat me to get a hold of them belts,” Taylor told “The belts the other lads have got, they’re my belts. I never lost them. I let go of them. So, they’re my belts. They’re still number two in the division. I’m still the king. No one’s beaten me, so I am the man to beat. I am the top dog in the 140 division. I’ve got one belt left and if you wanna become champion, you’re gonna have to fight me and beat me for it.”

Taylor became boxing’s second fully unified 140-pound champion of the four-belt era when he defeated previously unbeaten Jose Ramirez by unanimous decision in their 12-round title unification fight in May 2021 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Ramirez (28-1, 18 KOs) got up from a knockdown apiece in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Taylor won by the identical score of 114-112 on the cards of judges Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld.

Catterall (27-1, 13 KOs) tested Taylor. A resilient Taylor withstood a ninth-round knockdown, though, and barely beat the British southpaw by split decision in February 2022 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

Taylor later relinquished the IBF, WBA and WBC belts because he wasn’t interested in making mandatory defenses against opponents like Barroso, Ponce and Jose Zepeda, whom Prograis knocked out in the 11th round November 26 to win one of the three titles Taylor gave up. Taylor also was reluctant to continue paying what could’ve been as much as 12 percent of his purses for defending the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts simultaneously.

Determined to defeat Catterall more decisively, Taylor agreed to a rematch, but it was postponed twice, the second time due to Taylor’s foot injury. The WBO ordered Taylor to defend his only remaining championship against Brooklyn’s Lopez, a former unified lightweight champion, before the Catterall rematch could be rescheduled again.

“The WBO come out and mandated me to fight Teofimo Lopez because the fight with Catterall hadn’t been rescheduled,” Taylor said. “So, the WBO come in and sorta said, ‘OK, we want you to fight your mandatory defense,’ which was Teofimo Lopez. So, I said, ‘If I’m staying at the weight to have this fight, I’m not gonna let go of the final belt that I’ve got.’ So, yeah, it was kinda made for me, the decision, but at the same time I think this is a bigger and better fight.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.