WHEN Josh Taylor steps into the ring to take on Miguel Vazquez at the Royal Highland Centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh tomorrow, his trainer Shane McGuigan is in no doubt about how tough a battle he will be walking into.

The Mexican has a considerable pedigree, with his six successful defences of the IBF World Lightweight title demonstrating just what a quality boxer he is.

However, McGuigan, who has worked with Taylor at his London-based gym since the 26 year-old turned pro two years ago, believes that the Prestonpans fighter has the potential to do what few other boxers have been able to manage in Vazquez’s 44 professional fights to date: win by stoppage.

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And a result like that, says McGuigan, will create real waves throughout the boxing community and beyond. “First and foremost, Josh has got to win,” says McGuigan.

“We’ve prepared for 12 rounds because Vazquez takes a very good but if Josh can break him down and take him out, which is what we’re looking to do, then that’s a massive statement. Vazquez is awkward, don’t get me wrong, but Josh has the style to beat him and potentially stop him.

“If Josh were to stop someone like Miguel Vazquez, in the boxing industry, that is a big statement and that will transcend into the public.”

Taylor, who has had only 10 professional fights so far, concedes considerable experience to Vazquez but that does not worry McGuigan and in fact, the fact that Taylor remains relatively new to the sport having only taken it up in his late teens means that the improvements that McGuigan sees almost daily excite him greatly.

“Josh is still developing,” he said. “He spent seven years with GB (as an amateur) but I don’t think they gave him the attention he needed and that he rightfully deserved.

“Guys like Luke Campbell were the favourites and Josh was always pushed to the back of the queue when he arguably had more talent than all of them.

“Since he’s come on board with us we’ve given him the right focus and made sure he’s been sparring world class guys and they’ve all come out shocked.

“He’s filled into the weight as he’s getting older. Most kids are developing when they’re 20 or 21 but Josh is only really beginning to get his strength now.

“If we can keep him at 140lbs then he’ll be an absolute beast. I think Josh can win a world title very soon but it’s just about making sure we choose the correct fights.”

What has particularly impressed McGuigan is Taylor’s work ethic and he admits that often, the challenge is reining him in rather than having to encourage him rather than having to push him to work harder. “He’s got the potential to over-train, he’s one of those characters,” he said. “He’s full of life, that’s for sure!

“The problem is you can put too much into one camp and overhype things and then by the time your 28-years of age you’re done. My dad used to train all the time though and that’s when he fell out of love with the sport.

“You need to let it out slowly, keep wanting to improve but maintain the enjoyment factor. We do lots of fun things in camp and try and make it as enjoyable as possible and not too serious.

“Obviously when the hard stuff starts that’s when we switch on. Hanging around the gym all the time during camp, you can become stale. Josh wants to do three sessions a day as opposed to two, which is a good thing, but at the same time you’ve got to make sure that you don’t burn out.”

Meanwhile, Taylor remains entirely unfazed by his growing profile, with the acrimonious build-up to his bout with Ohara Davis earlier this summer, which included much trash-talking from the Englishman, and then Taylor’s subsequent victory thrusting the Scot into the limelight.

Not only is Taylor undaunted by being recognised on the streets of his home city of Edinburgh these days though, he is positively thrilled by some of the perks it is bringing him. “I was out shopping with my mate after the Davis fight and the guy serving me recognised me and gave me a few quid off,” he laughed.

“I bought three or four pairs of jeans and he gave me a couple of them for nothing. That was pretty good.

“And when me and my mate went for some drinks afterwards, there was a few guys buying me pints. I hardly spent a penny - it was brilliant. I went home with more money than I went out with.”

Much of Taylor’s relaxed attitude about his new-found fame is the fact that this is where he always envisioned himself being.

There is a difference between confidence and cockiness, and Taylor possesses only the former, but as he continues to get towards major title fights, his self-belief is evident.

“I’ve always believed I’m going to be a world champion so, without sounding big-headed, it’s no surprise to me that I’m doing well,” he said.

“I’m just enjoying the experience - it’s not going to last forever so this will be the best time of my life and career. I’m getting paid for doing something I love so I don’t feel any pressure, I just enjoy it and soak it all up.”