Josh Taylor: Prestonpans boxer cool before Las Vegas debut
Prestonpans' Josh Taylor feels the calming influence of stable-mate Carl Frampton is helping him focus before his debut in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The unbeaten Commonwealth super-lightweight champion takes on Mexico's Alfonso Olvera on the undercard of Frampton's WBA featherweight world title defence against Leo Santa Cruz.
"He doesn't put any pressure on himself, he just keeps calm," said Taylor of Belfast's Frampton.
"I'm not getting too excited about it."
Taylor, 26, won Commonwealth Games gold as an amateur in 2014. He followed that by winning the Commonwealth title in only his seventh professional bout, stopping Derby's Dave Ryan in five rounds at Meadowbank last October.
He has won fights in Texas and New York since turning pro in July 2015 but the bout against Olvera is his first in the so-called fight capital of the world.
"I'm dazzled, star-struck, being here," said Taylor, who came through Terry McCormack's Lochend club in Edinburgh.
"You have dreams of fighting in Vegas and the MGM Grand, where the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight, when you first turn professional.
"I just never imagined it would be at such an early stage in my career on such a massive undercard.
"I'm pinching myself but at the same time I'm relaxed and looking forward to the fight.
"Being in the same stable as Carl, seeing his face up on the MGM, gives me massive motivation to be in his position one day, fighting for a world title.
"If I dedicate myself like he has done, there's no reason why I can't.
"He believes in his own ability. Between training sessions and away from the gym he switches off. I think it's really important, it helps you recover and feel sharper."
Taylor admits to being "amazed" at the casinos and hotels and the "madness" of the non-stop city and jokes he plans to tackle a 10,000-calorie burger after the fight.
Before then, he must conquer Arizona-based Olvera.
"He's had 11 fights, he's drawn one, lost two and they were against unbeaten opponents," Taylor said of his 27-year-old opponent.
"He can fight and he comes to win so I'm taking it very seriously.
"I take every fight seriously, like it could be my last fight. A lot of fighters underestimate opponents and they get beat or get hurt."
Taylor is being touted as a possible opponent for his compatriot Ricky Burns, the WBA world super-lightweight champion.
"I feel I am ready to go in with anybody, but it's just about being smart," he said.
"I need to earn the right to fight Ricky Burns. He's world champion and I've only had seven fights. I've got to climb the ladder.
"If I was in against him I'd be confident, but it's not my style to call fighters out. I have massive respect for Ricky Burns. He has put Scottish boxing back on the map."
Interview by Mike Costello.