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Josh Taylor on the desire for acclaim and dreams of fighting hero Manny Pacquiao

staronline@reachplc.com (Chris McKenna)

Josh Taylor and Andy Murray have got a couple of things in common.

Both are big Hibernian fans and both are Scots who have reached the top in their respective sports.

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But Taylor, 29, ponders if he could ever become a household name in Britain like the tennis ace.

“I feel like I should be more celebrated and more hyped up,” said the Prestonpans native ahead of his WBA and IBF light-welterweight clash against Apinun Khongsong tonight.

Taylor has coupled his IBF title with the WBA ‘Super’ strap

“Scotland doesn’t seem to do it as much as maybe in England or Ireland does with their fighters.

“But I do have great fans who create an incredible atmosphere any time I fight.

“Scottish boxing fans are the best but maybe in the wider market I’m not as well known.”

Taylor is hoping to become Scotland’s first undisputed champion since his hero and friend Ken Buchanan reigned as lightweight king in the 1970s.

If he beats his unbeaten Thai foe tonight then all eyes will turn to a clash with WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez next year.

Josh Taylor beat Regis Prograis in the World Boxing Super Series final last year

That would certainly go a long way to becoming a star across all of Britain.

And maybe with Murray coming to the end of his tennis career there could be a gap in the market for someone to become Scotland’s leading sportsperson.

“Of course there could be,” said Taylor, who takes on Khongsong behind-closed-doors at York Hall in London.

“He’s a national icon. He’s Britain’s best ever tennis player and it’s great that he’s Scottish.

“But my career is only going to last for another couple of years too because I’m not going to be fighting until I’m 40.

Josh Taylor’s clash this weekend will be his first fight with new trainer Ben Davison

“I’m 29 now, potentially I’ve got another five or six fights and if they go well I’ll call it a day.

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“But I’m not crying out to be famous, who in their right mind wants to be famous? You can’t have a p*** in peace.”

Taylor’s record as a professional is remarkable as after 16 fights he has unified belts at 10st while his last four foes had a combined record of 94 wins and just one defeat before they faced him.

He also won the World Boxing Super Series when he beat Regis Prograis last year.

Josh Taylor wants to become Scotland’s first undisputed champion since Ken Buchanan in the 1970s

The Ramirez undisputed clash would be a huge fight either in Las Vegas or on these shores outdoors at Edinburgh Castle.

Both would fulfil lifelong dreams for the fighter who grew up in Prestonpans, the small town on the outskirts of the Scottish capital.

Taylor’s name is growing across the pond at the moment and the Ramirez fight would ratify him as a genuine pound-for-pound star in the sport.

But one clash which could help him cross over into the mainstream would be the potential of moving up to welterweight to take on Manny Pacquiao.

Josh Taylor is unbeaten in 16 professional fights and has won two world titles at light-welter

Taylor grew up idolising the Filipino puncher so much so his Staffordshire Bull Terrier is named ‘Manny’.

Not many could say they shared the ring with the man they named their pet after.

“It would be my dream come true,” added Taylor.

“I could never have imagined the fella from the fishing village of Prestonpans fighting his hero, Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest ever fighters in history, an eight-weight world champion and there would be wee Josh taking him on.

“It’s crazy but I would love it, I would love the opportunity to beat him.

“It shows you how far I’ve come but let’s not forget I would want to go in there and take his head off.

“Just because he’s my hero, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to do a job on him.”

Watch Taylor v Khongsong live on BT Sport 1 from 7.30pm

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