It has been a memorable year for Josh Taylor in more ways than one.
2022 began with the Scot as the undisputed super lightweight champion and regarded as one of the pound-for-pound stars in boxing.
Six months on and a lot has happened in the life of the 31-year-old. Some good, some not so good.
There was the fallout from his controversial win against Jack Catterall, the links to Irish Cartel boss Daniel Kinahan, the vacating of his WBA title, getting married to fiancée Danielle, and a documentary on Taylor which will air on Tuesday.
His career needs to get back on track and will do so in the 140lb division despite his and everyone else’s opinion that he should move to 147lbs. However, there are reasons for Taylor remaining at super lightweight.
“I want to shut everyone up,” he told The National. “The only reason I’m staying at the weight is I want to fight Catterall again.
“Because of all the stick and abuse I’ve been getting, and the way Jack’s been too, mouthing off and moaning, I just want to shut his mouth. The single reason I’m staying at the weight is to shut him and everyone else up.”
Before Taylor can get in the ring with Catterall he will have to fight his WBC mandatory challenger Jose Zepeda, a 33-year-old Californian of Mexican descent who has the credentials and abilities to give the unified champion a hard night’s work.
“I’d rather be fighting Jack next, but Zepeda is a big fight and people who are talking it down are people who don’t know the business. He’s a top-level fighter,” said Taylor.
The hostilities between Taylor and Catterall really got going at their weigh in the Friday before fight night. Tempers flared, they had seen enough of each other and wanted to fight. Natural. But what went down at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow is still raw for some. Social media has played its part too, the two fighters have had their back and forth while fans have had their say with some deciding to vent their vitriol at Taylor’s family much to his anger and disgust.
“It’s been pretty disgusting some of the things people have been saying. It is what it is, and we move forward,” he said while speaking to BBC Scotland in a separate interview.
Taylor, like other fighters represented by MTK Global the now defunct company that had been co- founded by Kinahan, have been under the microscope because of their association with the business that leads to people putting two and two together. Kinahan is no stranger to boxing and there is enough photographic evidence and social media posts online to prove that he is known by many in the sport, whether it is on a business of personal level.
“I haven’t got a relationship with Daniel anymore” Taylor told the BBC. “MTK is no more, so everything is sort of out the window.
“I now manage myself, moving on with a lawyer doing all my contract and management work.
Moving forward with Top Rank, so yeah, that’s it.
“I’m not really clued up with any of the stuff that was going on. Obviously, the stuff that has come to light has been pretty serious, but no, I’m focusing on boxing and it’s nothing to do with me.”
Josh Taylor: Portrait of a Fighter airs on the BBC Scotland channel at 22:00 BST on Tuesday, 21 June and will be available after transmission on BBC iPlayer.