JOSH TAYLOR: PORTRAIT OF A FIGHTER REVIEW
Worshiping at the altar of Buncey, as he insists we all do, I naturally made my way to the doc, needing a boxing fix after the brilliant Muhammad Ali had worn off. It follows Josh Taylor around at home in Prestonpans, Scotland, meeting his fiancée and parents before he heads into camp ahead of the now infamous Jack Catterall fight. The bout, in February earlier this year, saw Taylor fight Catterall to retain his status as the undisputed Super Lightweight Champion of the world.
It was not Taylor’s finest fight, and he was bashed up by an inspired Catterall, only to take a decision which caused revulsion and, ashamedly, vitriol which was aimed at the victor and his family. This abhorrent behaviour is covered towards the end of the documentary, though the fight and result are not examined in minutiae. Portrait of a Fighter is far more concerned with Taylor as a person, and he does come across well.
As an athlete Taylor is beyond elite, he’s a generational talent, and seeing him go about his work with a perfectionist and in places very funny level of frustration when he’s not performing (there is liberal use of four letter words on his part) is insightful. Much is made of the footage of Josh going through a painful looking weight making process but a trip to Las Vegas was what sticks in my memory most.
In the USA with his trainer Ben Davison and team, the fighters head to Davison’s favourite church out there, only to apparently just have smoke blown up their arses by the Pastor and congregation. Now, I’m sure it’s all very well meaning, but it just made me laugh. “I definitely felt something in there”, says Taylor afterwards, who doesn't appear in any way religious normally. Yes, mate, it’s called the divine power of praise.
Not that I have any ill will towards Josh Taylor, he comes across as very down to earth and amusingly wry and sweary, but for a documentary about a fighter it was the only part which really made showed me something I wasn’t expecting. Josh Taylor: Portrait of a Fighter is an easy way to spend an hour, but don’t expect anything too shocking.