Josh Taylor didn’t get the hero’s welcome home he deserved when he returned to Scotland and he didn’t even have his belts with him after they went missing in transit.
Taylor’s trip from Las Vegas went via Dallas and London, but when he arrived in Edinburgh COVID regulations prevented a crowd from greeting him the airport. He also said he had no idea what had happened to his four championship belts.
“I don't know, you’d better ask United Airlines, I think they’re somewhere in Dallas still,” Taylor said when asked where his belts were.
“They’ve lost my bloody belts! Were waiting on them to come in. But do you know what? Nothing is going to take this smile off my face.
“It’s going to take a lot to put a dampener on things, I'm the happiest man alive at the minute.”
Taylor became the first British boxer to hold the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF titles at the same time when he unified the world super-lightweight title by beating Jose Ramirez on Saturday night.
He had better get the belts soon, as he already has space for them in the trophy cabinet he had built at home. He had the cabinet made with space for the four belts, plus the Ring magazine belt and the Muhammad Ali Trophy, which he claimed when winning the World Boxing Super Series.
“I got the display cabinet specifically built because I knew I was going to become undisputed world champion,” Taylor said. “I got it made with six slots because I knew the other two were coming.
“I believe in visualization and the law of attraction so that’s why I got the cabinet built like that, with the space for two more. And it did provide a little bit of extra motivation to fill those gaps.
“But I had absolutely no doubt in my mind about winning the fight.”
For the next two weeks, Taylor says he wants a complete break from thinking or talking about boxing. It is a long time since he was in Scotland as before he travelled to Las Vegas for the final weeks of his training camp, he was on the south of England. He says he is keen on a fight with Terence Crawford, but also he knows he has Jack Catterall, the WBO mandatory contender, to face.
“Jack Catterall was decent enough to let me do this fight first,” Taylor said. “He’s been mandatory for some time. He agreed to step aside to let this fight happen. You can see his point, there’s method in his madness. If that fight’s next, he’s got the chance to become undisputed champion. He’s made a good choice.
“We’ll see what comes. We’ll see what happens. This next couple of weeks I’m going to forget about boxing, I’m going to enjoy this victory, I’m going to sit back, chill out with my friends, my family, my fiancée. I gave a whole lot, this training camp has been the best part of eight months away all in all, training and preparation, getting my mind right and getting everything right. All for this.
“This next couple of weeks, I’m going to forget about boxing hopefully and just chill out. But then I don’t know what’s going to be coming my way. One thing’s for sure, I’m going to enjoy this and soak it all up.”
But there are no thoughts of resting on his laurels.
“I’ve got every major world title, I could happily announce today that I’m retiring from boxing,” he said. “I could say ‘thanks boxing, see you later’ and be content. But then probably in about a year’s time I’d get itchy knuckles again and want to keep going and see if I could do more.
“That’s why I’m in the game, to give it my best. Because when the day final does come that I retire, I could say I gave it my best, I gave it my best shot and I’ve done everything that I could do. That’s what I want to say whenever I retire from boxing, that I’ve done everything to the best of my ability and I gave it my best shot and I still feel that I can do more. I don’t think that’s the best and I still feel I can do more.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.