PRESTONPANS boxing star Josh Taylor is just 12 rounds away from being world champion as he gets ready for an epic contest in Glasgow on Saturday.

Taylor, 28, faces Ivan Baranchyk at the SSE Hydro as he bids to take the IBF World Super Lightweight belt from the Belarussian’s grasp.

And with the fight being shown live on Sky Sports – with coverage from 9pm and Taylor’s fight expected at about 10.20pm – the Tartan Tornado is hoping that he will end the night not only as a world champion but as a British boxing star.

“I know a win here can launch me,” said Taylor.

“Having that Sky platform, with all the promotions they are putting round the fight, will get the name Josh Taylor out there, and not just to boxing fans.

“I can let the casual fans know what I am all about.

“So I get to showcase myself on a massive platform so I am happy I’m getting the exposure I deserve.”

The fight against the ‘Beast’ Baranchyk, known for his powerful punching, doubles as the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) for the super-lightweight division.

Taylor reached this stage by dismantling previously unbeaten American fighter Ryan Martin in the quarter-finals last November, and victory over Baranchyk would take him into the final of the prestigious event, where he would face New Orleans native Regis Prograis, the WBA world champion.

Fighting for world titles would have been just a pipe dream for Taylor when he took home a bronze medal from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India, in 2008.

“If you had told me away back then that I would be fighting for world titles and I have achieved what I have already achieved in the sport, I would have told you that you were a big fat liar. I would have told you where to go,” he said.

“It is crazy to see how far I have gone since those days, so I am well proud of myself but hopefully it is just the start of bigger nights to come.

“Hopefully I can be world champion for a long, long time.

“Initially, I just went to boxing as a kid to keep fit for a couple of weeks really. Then I got asked to go sparring and I took it from there.

“I got a few fights under my belt, then I got selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008 and came back with a bronze medal.

“I thought ‘right, I am quite good at this, let’s see how far I can go’. That was when I started taking it a bit more seriously.”

That proved the start of a stunning amateur career for Taylor, who two years later was back in India for the Commonwealth Games and, aged just 19, reached the final at his weight category before having to settle for silver.

He then represented Great Britain in the Olympics in London in 2012 before winning gold in front of his home fans at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

That proved Taylor’s amateur swansong as he turned professional soon after and has not looked back since, winning all 14 of his fights as a pro, all but two of them by stoppage, to set up his first shot at a world title.

Should he get the better of Baranchyk in front of his baying home fans on Saturday, he would become Scotland’s first professional world boxing champion since Ricky Burns lost his WBA belt in the same weight class to Julius Indongo in April 2017.

Jake McGuigan, son of Barry and part of Taylor’s promotions stable, is delighted his man’s days as one of the sport’s best kept secrets should soon be over.

“Look, you talk to people in the boxing industry and they know the kind of performances Josh has been putting in, the kind of people he has been beating,” said McGuigan.

“Josh always gives you excitement.

“But there aren’t enough people out there who know that and that is what the fight going on Sky Sports will give you, it will launch him to bigger and better things and make everyone aware of him.

“There are very few fighters around in the UK who deliver what he delivers, he is the most exciting fighter around.

“His nickname is the Tartan Tornado. He is like a whirlwind.”

And he added: “Baranchyk is a dangerous fighter who will be particularly dangerous early on, but I feel Josh is better than him in all departments, provided he is switched on.

“I think he becomes world champion this Saturday.”