Josh Taylor using extra heaters at Essex gym to replicate red-hot Las Vegas conditions ahead of clash with Jose Ramirez… with Scot aiming to become first British fighter ever to hold all four light welterweight world titles
- Josh Taylor can become Scotland’s first world champion since Ken Buchanan
- He fights Jose Ramirez for super lightweight supremacy on May 22 in Las Vegas
- Temperatures on the Sin City Strip could exceed 30 degrees by that time
- He and trainer Ben Davison are trying to replicate the Nevada Desert in Essex
Josh Taylor has fired up extra heaters in the gym to prepare for his upcoming clash with Jose Ramirez amid the red-hot temperatures of Las Vegas.
Taylor can become Scotland’s first undisputed world champion since Ken Buchanan – and the first British fighter ever to hold all four belts – when he fights Ramirez for super lightweight supremacy on May 22.
Temperatures on the Sin City Strip could exceed 30 degrees by then and Taylor – a Scot of ‘pale blue’ complexion who needs ‘a few hours in the sun to go white’ – is leaving no stone unturned in his attempts to acclimatise.
Josh Taylor has fired up extra heaters in the gym to prepare for his upcoming clash with Jose Ramirez
Taylor can become he first British fighter ever to hold all four light welterweight world titles
He and trainer Ben Davison will head to Vegas four weeks before fight night and even now they are trying to replicate the Nevada Desert at their Essex base.
‘We’ve got the gym roasting hot,’ Taylor said. ‘It will take a few days – maybe a week – to get used to the heat but we’re preparing as best we can… where the ring is, it’s a smaller room, the central heating comes on but we’ve also got additional heaters in the room so it’s boiling.’
He added: ‘We’re going to go over there four weeks beforehand and make sure we’re acclimatised to the heat, the time difference, the food and all that stuff.
‘That time of year it’s starting to get hot, so with the Scottish skin, I sweat quite badly and don’t handle heat too well… I’m kind of pale blue rather than white. So I need to spend a few hours in the sun to go white and then start getting a tan.
The Scot will fight Jose Ramirez (above) for super lightweight supremacy on May 22
‘I’ll need to take the factor 50 with me and keep out of the sun as much as possible. But at the same time you want to come back with a good tan!’
Taylor is on the cusp of boxing immortality despite having only amassed 17 professional fights.
This clash with the unbeaten Ramirez is the first time the 30-year-old has headlined in Vegas but back in 2017, in his eighth fight, Taylor fought on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s rematch against Leo Santa Cruz.
‘When we landed, we drove down the Strip and saw Carl’s name up on the MGM billboard,’ he remembered. ‘It was quite surreal to see… and it gave me so much motivation to say: ‘Well if he can do it, I can do it.’ I want to be in that position one day and here we are so I’m absolutely buzzing.’
He and trainer Ben Davison (above) will head to Vegas four weeks before fight night
He added: ‘The whole trip was brilliant and absolutely crucial to my development – watching the way Carl dealt with all that pressure, the media and everything… I 100 per cent believed I’d be world champion.
‘But to land a fight in Vegas, a mega fight like this, probably not. I probably wouldn’t have ever imagined this happening to me – and certainly not this quick in my career. So it is quite a surreal moment. But I’ve worked by backside off to be in this position.’
That first trip to Vegas offered little chance to soak up the sights and sounds of the Strip. This time round, Covid looks likely to rob Taylor of any travelling support – and curtail his plans for a post-fight tour of the States. But there remains one thing on his bucket list that the 30-year-old hopes to tick off after beating Ramirez.
‘I wanted to do a helicopter tour the last time but I never managed to get the time to do it… we wanted to do the Grand Canyon tour and maybe even the night tour of the Strip. That would have been pretty cool,’ he said. ‘We could do something like that. 100 per cent.’
He headlines in Vegas for the first time, having beaten Alfonso Olvera on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s rematch in 2017 (above)
Then, on his return to Scotland, Taylor hopes to visit his hero Buchanan. The Scottish great, 75, has supported Taylor throughout his career but now he is in a care home.
‘I haven’t spoken to him for a little while now. The last time was when he was down at my house after the (Regis) Prograis fight (in 2019),’ Taylor said.
‘It would be nice to try and get to see him after this fight again, and bring the belts back to him.’
Josh Taylor is an Everlast athlete. With over 100 years’ heritage in boxing, Everlast is a necessary part of the lives of countless champions and aims to inspire the fight in us all. Everlast has pledged to sign deals with 52 athletes in 2021, with Taylor the first male fighter signed up.
‘I always use Everlast gloves in my fights – I discovered them a couple of years back and since I found them I’ve never looked back. They’re the oldest and most prestigious brand in boxing… I’m really proud that Everlast are on board now and are part of the journey with me.’
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