Next Monday morning, the public roads around the Isle of Man will close and superbikes will begin hurtling down Bray Hill as practice for the annual Tourist Trophy motorcycle races get underway.

Over the course of two weeks, the riders will wrestle their bikes between hedges, through towns and up and over a mountain at speeds of over 200 mph.

“There is a gray blur and a green blur. I try to stay on the gray one,” TT great Joey Dunlop once said of the battle to keep his bike on the road.

To those who don’t understand or aren’t involved in the sport, it looks terrifying – impossible, even. They wonder exactly why the participants would want to subject themselves to the very real possibility of life-altering injury – or worse – and over the years the event has survived calls for it to be banned. It sounds exactly like boxing.

It probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that former undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor loves motorcycles and can’t get enough of the TT races.

“Oh, I’ll be watching it, don’t worry about that,” Taylor, 33, told BoxingScene, visibly pleased to have a momentary break from talking about Saturday’s upcoming rematch with Jack Catterall. “Hopefully I’ll get over there. We’ve left it to the last minute and it’ll be slim pickings with what’s left. The last time I was over there was 2019, just before the lockdown. I managed to get some accommodation in a homestay the week before and got a little flight over with my dad. I had to share a room with my dad, which wasn’t ideal, but we got to see it.

“What an experience. I’ve watched it for years. Watching the onboard videos of laps is just crazy, but when you’re there in real life and you see the speeds they’re going at when they’re coming down Bray Hill, it’s absolutely insane.”

Even the most experienced riders find the 37-mile long course extremely difficult to figure out and unnerving the first time they ride it. The next time they do it, the scenery passes by a fraction slower and although they can’t afford to lose concentration for a split second, they are able to focus on the smaller details and on perfecting the corners and bends that can’t win you a race but can most certainly lose it.

It has been more than two years since Taylor defended his undisputed 140-pound championship against the underrated Catterall.

The first half of the fight flew by Taylor. Catterall is renowned for being strong, clever and difficult to catch with more than one punch at a time, and he found his range and rhythm quickly. The southpaw Catterall lay back, negated Taylor and scored with counter left hands. He even dropped the Scot in the eighth round. 

With the fight quickly slipping away, an out-of-sorts Taylor had to bite down, force the fight and land whatever he could. He escaped with a controversial split decision victory and retained his titles.

This will be the first professional rematch of the experienced Taylor’s career, but having

had a first-hand look at Catterall and a long time to think about the areas in which he needs to improve, things may just seem a little less complicated when the two fierce rivals renew hostilities in Leeds, England, on Saturday night.

“We have changed a few things,” Taylor said. “We’ve seen him now. We’ve studied him and, for one, I know I’ve got a big threat in front of me this time. I’m taking it seriously this time.”

“The last fight was a stinker from the both of us: Jack doing a lot of holding, spoiling and slowing the pace down, and I was very poor as well. I believe the two of us can be a lot better, and it’ll be a better fight for the fans and spectators. I feel like it’s gonna be a great fight and a barnstormer.

“I don’t really care how I win this fight, whether it’s by points or stoppage. The way I’ve been performing in the gym and the shots I’ve been throwing and catching people with, if I catch him with those shots, it’ll be over. It’ll be devastating for him. We’ll see what happens, but it’s a win for me.”

Whether it is riding motorbikes or taking part in any sport, relaxation is key. As soon as any tension seeps into the hands and forearms or infiltrates the brain, everything becomes harder.

The first fight was a drama-filled but scrappy affair.

After realizing that what he had set out to do wasn’t working, Taylor stopped overthinking and upped his work rate. It wasn’t pretty and not much of it was clean, but the rounds became closer.

With everything he had ever worked for within his grasp, Catterall understandably began to sense the finish line. Rather than accelerating towards it, he continued to do the things that had been working for him all night. To most observers, it seemed like a wise tactic, but Taylor’s desperation gave the judges a decision to make.

Taylor thinks that the ability to fight your instincts and grab that which you have wanted for so long is something that can be learned, but he doesn’t think that Catterall will ever get the chance to show that he has added it to his arsenal.

He believes that the 30-year-old Catterall regrets how he dealt with the championship rounds the first time around. This weekend Taylor is intent on making sure it is something he will rue for the rest of his life.

“I don’t know. You’d need to ask him,” Taylor said. “He’s had so many opportunities to put statements on in his career and he’s never done it.

“I suppose it’s something you can learn. It’s just his style. We’ll have an answer to that question on Sunday.

“I think he’s so pissed off because he knows he’s lost his chance. He f***** it up. If he’d put his foot on the gas in the later rounds, he maybe would have got the decision, but he never did. He tried to cruise, and it was me who tried to push the second half of the fight. 

“It’s probably pissing him off now. He’ll never be a world champion. He will never be a world champion. That’s what I believe. He had his chance against me to have all the marbles and create history, and he f***** it all up.

“The division’s heating back up with better fighters who I don’t believe he will be able to beat. 

“He’s lost his chance.”