Josh Taylor: Boxing behind closed doors due to coronavirus 'not ideal'

Taylor holds two of the four major world titles
Taylor holds two of the four major world titles

Boxing behind closed doors would be "hard to get up for", says world super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor.

Scotland's Taylor was due to defend his two titles against Thailand's Apinun Khongsong this weekend but the outbreak of coronavirus led to a postponement.

It is unclear as to when action will resume, with the idea of events taking place without fans widely mooted.

"It would be a bit like a glorified sparring match if there's only 50 people in the building," Taylor said.

The 29-year-old told the 5 Live Boxing Podcast: "It's not ideal. I think for me it would be quite hard to get up for.

"If the crowd wasn't there you'd lose that wee bit of nervousness walking out. Just as you get ready to walk out, you see the crowd and think this is it man, what I live for and there's no way I'm getting beat. It fires you up.

"But, on the other side, I go back to my amateur days when there were only a couple of hundred there. So I'd go back to that experience to make sure I win the fight."

Garage workouts and Ramirez next...

Josh Taylor
Taylor defeated American Regis Prograis in October to unify world titles at super-lightweight

The coming weekend was set to be a bumper one for the sport, with Taylor taking on Khongsong in Glasgow, Dillian Whyte due to meet Alexander Povetkin in London and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez set to fight in Las Vegas.

British boxing bosses have halted the sport until at least June but have said it could take longer than expected for events to return.

Taylor admits he was "absolutely seething" during his training camp in Las Vegas when he learned his fight was off and told 5 Live's Mike Costello and Steve Bunce the news proved "a bitter pill to swallow".

"I am training and keeping fit but it's hard to push yourself to the limit when you haven't got any motivation or idea when this might end," added the IBF and WBA champion.

"When you know a fight is coming up you can keep training but now we don't know how long this will be."

Despite the uncertainty, Taylor has been able to train twice a day during lockdown by doing runs in the morning, before working out with circuit training or sessions on a punchbag in his garage in the evening.

Given he has sparred only a handful of times since his eye-catching win over Regis Prograis in October, he says he would need "a solid six weeks" of sparring before he can entertain getting in the ring.

When he does return, he expects his opponent to be Khongsong, who is mandatory challenger for the IBF title.

It has been suggested some promoters would push for the biggest fights possible when the sport returns and Taylor is keen on a bout with American Jose Ramirez. All four major titles at 140lbs would be on the line should they meet.

He added: "I don't know what the organisations will think about the mandatory fights. If we can get them pushed aside and go for the big fights I'd rather that. That would be better for me and everyone I think."

Boxing took place in Nicaragua over the weekend as a result of the country's decision to not impose a shutdown.

Competitors wore protective masks to the ring, while fans were asked to sit two seats apart.

Some fighters - including Britain's Joshua Buatsi - have questioned if fans will be fearful of attending fight nights when they can go ahead in light of a pandemic which has killed more than 20,000 people in the UK to date.

"Personally I would be OK with it," added Taylor. "I am not too afraid of it.

"I know that may sound ignorant but if the government said it was OK I'd go and take my precautions with hand gel and keeping my distance. I would get on with it and start living my life again."

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