Josh Taylor will travel back to the country in which he made history to face Teofimo Lopez – and he’s predicting punishment.
‘The Tartan Tornado’ travelled to Las Vegas in 2021 to beat José Ramírez and become the first man fighting out of the UK – Scotland to be precise – to become a four-belt champion.
He remains undefeated in 19 contests, but now just defends the WBO title after vacating the rest. It will be on the line against former unified lightweight champion, Lopez, in the American’s third fight up in the 140lb ranks.
The defence was announced when a rematch between Taylor and Jack Catterall failed to be rescheduled after an injury on Taylor’s part. He told Boxing Social that he’s landed a bigger and better fight.
“For me, personally I think it’s a bigger fight [than Caterall], it’s a harder fight, it’s a worldwide fight. I’m buzzing.”
Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) has so far stopped Pedro Campa and decisioned Sandor Martin in his super lightweight campaign – the latest performance failing to set the division alight and leaving him disappointed.
Taylor isn’t taking those as signs of an easy ride, but rather preparing for the Lopez who beat Vasiliy Lomachenko back in 2020.
“He’s not looked great, has he? But maybe that’s just a lack of motivation, a lack of dance partner. You never know. I’m not preparing for those versions of Teofimo. I’m preparing for his best performance – Lomachenko… But it’s still not good enough to beat me.”
The Scotsman says he has ‘seen loads’ in Lopez’s game that he can exploit, and predicts either a stoppage or total punishment.
“Just me to win. I won’t predict a round, but I can knock him out. If I don’t knock him out, I will punish him.”
The pair meet in New York on June 10, broadcast live on Sky Sports for UK fans and on ESPN in the US.