JOSH Taylor said last night that he is chilled out and sleeping like a baby as his date with destiny approaches ‚Äď then joked that it could have something to do with the CBD oil that he is using. The Tartan Tornado, who faces Ivan ‚ÄėThe Beast‚Äô Baranchyk of Belarus in front of 6,000-plus fans at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Saturday night with Baranchyk‚Äôs IBF Super Lightweight title on the line, admitted that his preparations have included using cannabidiol, a compound derived from the cannabis plant which is not on Wada‚Äôs list of prohibited substances. Rope-a-dope is a recognised tactic when it comes to the boxing ring but never anything like this.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm surprisingly laid back,‚ÄĚ said Taylor, after today‚Äôs pre-fight press conference. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sleeping like a baby, which is probably down to the preparations. I am settled in London, I‚Äôm not living out of a suitcase in a hotel, but with my girlfriend and dog in the flat. I am relaxed, focused and super confident. I can‚Äôt wait.
‚ÄúI am taking this CBD oil too – so maybe that‚Äôs why I am so relaxed!‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúMaybe that‚Äôs why I‚Äôm so chilled out! Joking aside, it does help me relax and focus. I‚Äôve always had trouble sleeping at night, being a bit hyper and going over things, but the last few camps I‚Äôve taken that stuff and it‚Äôs really helped me.‚ÄĚ
Not that the 28-year-old exhibits any sign of misplace focus or lack of concentration. He is keenly aware that Saturday night is an opportunity four years in the making. While he says he misses the ‚Äúbanter‚ÄĚ up in Scotland, upping sticks to live nearby the McGuigan‚Äôs gym in Walthamstow means that no-one can say he hasn‚Äôt given it his best shot. All outside influences have been shut out.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs always great to fight in front of my home fans ‚Äď especially when it‚Äôs the biggest fight of my career,‚ÄĚ said Taylor. ‚ÄúThis is an opportunity to become a world champion in front of my fans and my friends and family. It‚Äôs a dream come true for me.
‚ÄúOf course I miss Scotland,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúI miss the banter and the carry on, the banter is not the same down there! But I am doing what I have to do to focus on my career and give it my best shot. I‚Äôve given it 100 percent. The great thing about the WBSS is that I don‚Äôt have to deal with tickets and all that stuff. People message me, but I put an announcement on Facebook saying go there ‚Äď and that‚Äôs it, brilliant, they don‚Äôt bother me again. My ring music‚Äôs still not sorted. I tried to get Clanadonia in ‚Äď but the WBSS wouldn‚Äôt allow it.‚ÄĚ
There was a time when it seemed as though this fight would never happen but Baranchyk is here and the unbeaten Belarusian isn‚Äôt about to surrender his belt without a fight. While Taylor is two inches taller and is the more schooled boxer, the Beast packs a punch and can be expected to come out swinging in the opening rounds. Taylor will have to pick and choose when he mixes it with him, but knows Baranchyk hasn‚Äôt been hit by anyone like him yet either. ‚ÄúI think he believes he will come here and walk through me,‚ÄĚ said Taylor. ‚ÄúIt will be a shock to him when I hit him, and hit him, and hit him hard. He‚Äôs never been hit by anyone yet so he will be shocked by the speed and the power. He‚Äôs going to try to maul me and overwhelm me with his big shots, his strength. He‚Äôll be a bit dirty, use his elbows, hit me low, things like that. But it‚Äôs not going to work. I‚Äôm happy to stand and fight him ‚Äď but I‚Äôll fight him on my terms. I am not going to just let him come forward and push me on to the ropes. I‚Äôll push him back. And I believe I will catch him when he comes in with those wild swings. I work best up close tight and from mid-range. If that‚Äôs the kind of fight it‚Äôs going to be then I‚Äôm ready.‚ÄĚ
Taylor‚Äôs increased punching power is better for his prospects of becoming Scotland‚Äôs first world champion since Ricky Burns surrendered his WBA title to Julius Indongo in April 2017 than it is for his prospects of finding sparring partners. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve broken a couple of guys‚Äô ribs in sparring, busted up all their noses ‚Äď and a couple of guys have not come back!‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve invited them back for the Monday ‚Äď and they‚Äôve just not shown.‚ÄĚ
Greater fights await for Taylor should he get through this one, all starting with a WBSS final against Regis Prograis later in the year. But the Tartan Tornado has tunnel vision. ‚ÄúListen, it‚Äôs pre-fight talk. He believes he‚Äôs going to come in and beat the shit out of me ‚Äď they all say that. But he can say what he wants. It‚Äôs irrelevant to my mindset.‚ÄĚ