JOSH TAYLOR’s trainer Joe McNally says Conor Benn is not in the Scottish fighter’s plans for the future.
Benn is set to resume his career in the autumn having not fought since beating Chris van Heerden in April last year.
The Londoner was suspended and charged by UKAD in April following two failed drug tests last year prior to his October bout against Chris Eubank Jr which was then cancelled following the revelation during fight week. With the temporary suspension lifted Matchroom’s YouTube channel spoke to Benn about the possibility of facing Taylor and other big-name opponents.
“He’s a mouthy git,” Benn said. “He can get it as well. I’ll give him a good spanking. I’ll give him a good pasting, an absolute beating. He don’t concern me at all. He’s a sore loser. He don’t handle defeat well which ain’t really sportsmanship. It don’t matter anyway. I won’t shake his hand after I knock him out.”
Taylor himself could return to the ring in November or December, according to McNally, as he looks to get himself back on track following the loss to Teofimo Lopez in June.
In an interview with Boxing News McNally, who is also training Liam Smith for his September rematch against Chris Eubank Jr, says Taylor hasn’t even talked about a fight with Benn and is more interested in fighting for a world title again.
“No, not once whatsoever. In this gym we were talking about Conor with Chris Eubank. Obviously, Liam wanting the rematch with Chris and Conor trying to get the fight. But no, Josh hasn’t talked about Conor in any way shape or form. I’m not one for your social media stuff. He’s just not in Josh’s plans.
“He’s back in the gym and we’re looking November-December for his next move. A few names getting floated about. We’re debating whether to move up or stay at 140. That’s his decision. Opponent depending, but there’s a few good names knocking about and a few that we’re very, very interested in. I’m really looking forward to his part two and picking up another world championship.”
The biggest conversation involving Taylor’s future is what weight division the former undisputed super-lightweight champion will be fighting at. After suffering the first defeat of his career Taylor seemed adamant that his days at 140lbs were over and that a move to welterweight was imminent. McNally still believes that his charge can fight at the 10 stone limit.
“The science says he’s still 140lbs, but you cannot always rely on the science,” he said.
“You’ve got to see how the body’s performing in camp and stuff. I think he can do 140lbs. The truth of it is up at 147, take away Crawford and Spence, there’s no real dance-partners there. Every name is sort of 135-140. I don’t really want him to cement his whole plans on moving up but if that’s his decision, that’s his decision and one we’ll make as a team going forward.
“He’s in the beauty of the situation he can move up and still walk into massive contests and stay at 140 and pick up massive contests also. He’s still in a fantastic position.”
McNally told BN that a number of opponents are on the table for Taylor’s next fight, but Jack Catterall isn’t one of them. Catterall and his promoter Eddie Hearn had hoped to make the Taylor rematch but that looks off the table and may be re-explored in 2024.
Taylor’s loss to Lopez has seen the usual negativity served on social media and feasted on by the vultures who believe the 32-year-old’s best days are behind him. McNally has grown tired of the attitude that one defeat for any fighter is somehow the beginning of the end. Taylor started strong against Lopez when they fought in New York but the gifted 26-year-old proved why he is one of the best fighters in the world by taking over and controlling the majority of the fight.
“There’s too much emphasis on the sport as in you take this loss and ‘oh yeah he’s done’ or ‘oh yeah he’s finished’,” McNally said.
“If the best boxed the best on a consistent basis year in year out, I truly believe no-one would be undefeated. And you’d have to be really, truly, one in a generation type of fighter to stay undefeated if the best were boxing the best. It’s actually ruining the sport but that’s the day and age that we’re in. If it wasn’t like that it’d benefit the audience and the sport as a whole. He’s got a lot left. He’s a young man and he’ll come again and win another world championship and that’s his goal.”