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Fights at home fire up Taylor

JOSH Taylor will be back in action at the 2014 Boxing Scotland Finals at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Friday.

Josh Taylor will be well supported when he enters the ring on Friday   Photograph: Mark Mainz
Josh Taylor will be well supported when he enters the ring on Friday Photograph: Mark Mainz

The East Lothian boxer will take on Sam Ball (Greenock) in the 64kg light welterweight showdown having successfully negotiated the prelim and last weekend the semi-final when he produced the day's only knockout against Andrew Smart (Elgin), in round two at Scotstoun in Glasgow.

The 23-year-old Commonwealth Games silver medallist is upbeat ahead of the finals. "I can't wait to fight in front of all my friends and family again," the Lochend ABC boxer said. "Having that home support makes me want to train even harder. I want to put on a good performance.

"Training has been going well. In the three years since I last competed in Scotland I've been to an Olympic Games and the World Championships. I have been in front of the big crowds on TV before so Friday isn't anything that is going to faze me. I want to enjoy the whole experience.

"I haven't fought Sam Ball before, but I did watch his semi-final against Jason Easton. There are a few things I saw that I think I could expose and use to my advantage."

Even so, Taylor will not be complacent. "It's going to be a hard fight against Sam," he said. "He's a good boxer so it will be tough. Anything can happen in the ring."

Two busloads of supporters will be travelling from Taylor's home town of Prestonpans to cheer him on alongside mum Diane, dad James, little sister Finch and girlfriend Danielle. "I think I've sold around 100 tickets already for people coming to watch," he said. "It will be really great to have them all there."

Following the finals, Taylor is due to travel to Portugal with the rest of the Boxing Scotland squad for a warm weather training camp next month before they head to Australia in May.

"I'm looking forward to spending time with the Scottish lads," he said. "Going into the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi I'd built really good relationships with all the boys. Having been though all of the hard work together we had a massive bond. It would be nice to build that again going into Glasgow 2014."

Taylor said he was relieved to have bounced back from a lingering hand injury that plagued him for much of last year. "My hand is holding up well, I'm really happy with how things are," he said. "There has been the occasional small niggle, but nothing that interferes with my training. I'm still sparring hard, hitting the bags and pads. There are no problems at all."

o The 2014 Boxing Scotland Finals (www.boxingscotland.org) are at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, on Friday.

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