Josh Taylor will defend his WBO super-lightweight championship against Teofimo Lopez on June 10 at the Madison Square Garden Theater live on Sky Sports.
Taylor became the UK’s first undisputed champion in the four belt era when he beat Jose Ramirez in 2021 to unify the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 140lb titles.
He will return to the US for the first time since that triumph to box Brooklyn’s Lopez at the historic New York venue in June.
“These are the kind of fights, all these big names in the sport that keep the motivation and the fire burning in my belly and give me that excitement and that buzz,” Taylor told Sky Sports.
“The fire’s clearly burning. I’m really excited to be here and boxing in the Mecca of boxing. Madison Square Garden is where all the giants and all the legends of the sport have boxed in the past. Hopefully I can do this fight and I become a legend, a present legend.”
Lopez was recognised as the leading lightweight in the world when he beat Vasiliy Lomachenko and unified three championship titles.
He suffered an upset loss to George Kambosos and moved up a division last year, winning both of his fights, against Pedro Campa and Sandor Martin, at 140lbs.
Taylor came through a contentious bout with bitter rival Jack Catterall last year to remain undefeated. He never lost his belts in the ring but vacated three of his four titles as he looked to make a rematch with Catterall.
The Scotsman suffered an injury earlier this year that saw the mooted bout with Catterall called off. When Lopez was called for a mandatory defence of the WBO championship, Taylor answered the challenge.
It is a fight Taylor believes will enhance his legacy in the sport.
“[Lopez] was a unified world champion at lightweight. He will say he was undisputed champion but unfortunately he wasn’t. He should have been technically but he wasn’t. So I’ll wind him up about that,” Taylor said.
“He’s got a great style. You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. He went out and beat Lomachenko who at the time was one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet and he went out and won.
“He’s a very good fighter. Stylistically I think it’s a very good fight for myself as well with the way he comes to fight. He comes looking for you and doesn’t take a backwards step. He’s a very aggressive, front-foot pressure fighter.
“I like a bit of a fight myself. I’m not shy to having a good fight and a good tear up. So I think it’s got the makings of being an absolute barnstormer of a fight.”
But he added: “I think it’s going to be great while it lasts. I think one of us is getting knocked out, and I don’t think it’s going to be myself that’s for sure.”
It would be a personal triumph for Taylor.
“He’s been talking a lot of smack for a couple of years about my name and about myself,” the Scotsman said.
“So it’s finally here.
“He can’t hide for too much longer!”