Josh Taylor has fought three times in the United States since he turned pro five years ago.
Scotland’s Taylor would have no issue with taking another trip to the U.S. for the showdown he wants with Jose Ramirez. Taylor obviously would prefer to meet Ramirez either in Glasgow or London, but boxing before a big, boisterous crowd means more to Taylor than the site of their highly anticipated, 140-pound title unification fight.
“I’m really not sure where it would be,” Taylor told BoxingScene.com. “And to be honest, I’m not bothered. I’ll fight anywhere. With a fight of this magnitude, I would want it to be when the crowds are there. I wouldn’t want it to be half capacity and stuff like that. I think it’s one of the biggest fights in boxing at this moment in time, so I would want this fight to have a full-capacity crowd. Whether it’s in Scotland or America, I’m not fussed. But, for sure, I would want that fight in front of a big crowd, a hundred percent.”
Before finalizing a deal to meet Ramirez, Taylor must get past Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), the mandatory challenger for his IBF junior welterweight title. The 29-year-old Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and the 24-year-old Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) will fight Saturday night for Taylor’s IBF and WBA belts at BT Sport Studio in London.
Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) secured his spot in their much-discussed bout August 29 in Las Vegas, where he out-pointed Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-round fight for Ramirez’s WBC and WBO titles.
Ramirez regularly draws crowds that exceed 10,000 to Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, near Ramirez’s hometown of Avenal.
Taylor is a consistent ticket-seller at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. The IBF/WBA champ also helped draw a sizable crowd to O2 Arena in London for his majority-decision victory over Regis Prograis in their title unification fight last October 26.
Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter and Taylor’s co-promoter, told BoxingScene.com recently that Ramirez-Taylor won’t take place until sometime in 2021, in part because everyone involved wants fans to attend that event whether it’s in the U.S. or the UK.
“I would love it to be in front of the big crowd,” Taylor said. “It’s what every fighter dreams of – fighting these big unification fights, becoming undisputed champion in front of thousands of people and millions of people on TV. You know, that’s what every fighter dreams of. So, it would be a wee bit of a kick in the teeth to have a fight like that, and not have any fans there. So, of course, I would love for the fans to be there. That’s the dream come true, isn’t it? That is the dream.”
That dream can become a reality only if Taylor, a 35-1 favorite, defeats Khongsong. Taylor-Khongsong will be the main event of an ESPN+ stream that’ll start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT in the U.S. and a BT Sport telecast in the UK (7 p.m. BT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.