Stewart Fisher

JOSH Taylor did a public workout for the cameras at Spitalfields market in London yesterday as the hours ticked down to Saturday’s world title unification bout against Regis Prograis at the O2 in London.

It was all a far cry from how his camp kicked off in time-honoured fashion with some sprints on the beach just miles from his hometown of Prestonpans under the watchful eye of his old amateur coach Terry McCormack of Lochend Boxing Club in the shadow of Easter Road.

As much credit as Shane McGuigan deserves for helping make Taylor world champion with

a perfect record from his 15 pro fights, Taylor will find reassurance when the lights go down on Saturday evening from having a man in his corner who he regards as a father figure.

That support team will be as crucial as ever on Saturday as the IBF super lightweight champion faces the similarly undefeated WBA champion Prograis, with both men’s titles, the Ring Magazine belt and the Muhammad Ali Trophy for the winner of the World Boxing Super Series on the line.

“I did some sprints up at Port Seton, Longniddry way, just a couple of miles along the beach from Prestonpans,” Taylor said. “Every time I fight, I always make sure to spend some time up here with Terry. He always has me out doing something, keeping fit, here – doing everything.

“Terry knows me inside out, he has known me ever since I was a young lad, just 16, 17 years old,” the 28-year-old added. “I know him and I trust him with my life. He is almost like a second father to me.

I feel like I can talk to him about anything and I fully trust him.

“It is great to know when it comes to the O2 that I have someone there in my corner that I can trust with my life. There have been loads of times when I have turned to him for bits of advice, or just talked to him about things that are going on. He was in the ring with me all the way through my amateur career, and in my pro career I want to take him with me.”

A bumper Scottish travelling support is expected to follow Taylor to the O2 in Greenwich on Saturday night, a bill which sees his countryman Ricky Burns take on Lee Selby in a match-up which could prove pivotal for both fighters. For Taylor, there was the novelty factor of sitting down with Prograis head-to-head for the filming of The Gloves Are Off on Sky Sports, where both men eyeball each other for 30 minutes. Taylor used the show to remind Prograis about his apparent fear of travelling outwith the USA to fight for the first time, and how he had him in a headlock when they met in a casino prior to the agreeing of this fight.

“Sitting talking to a guy I am about to fight isn’t really my style.

I would rather just go out and fight him,” said Taylor. “But it was a new experience and I enjoyed it. I was just sitting telling him about his weaknesses and stuff. We weren’t trying to get under each other’s skin, I certainly wasn’t trying to get under his skin anyway! I was just kind of listening to what he was saying although I don’t really have too much interest in him. I want it to be Saturday already. You get more excited because the fights keep getting bigger and bigger.”

Carl Froch, meanwhile, the man who retired as unified IBF and WBA super middleweight champion after wins against first Mikel Kessler then George Groves, insisted last night that Taylor would be entitled to call himself Britain’s top fighter if he can prevail on Saturday night.

“If he’s the only British fighter with two world titles, then he’s going to be recognised as one of the best world champions that we’ve got,” Froch told Sky Sports. “And the only one with two titles. I trained with him for the last couple of years of his amateur career – a nice, likeable kid. He’s down to earth, there’s no airs or graces about him. I see a lot of similarities with him and myself.”