JOSH TAYLOR underlined his status as one of the most talented fighters in the country with an emphatic seventh round stoppage of Ohara Davies to retain his Commonwealth lightweight title. The eagerly awaited contest of unbeaten fighters was fought at a brisk, engrossing pace from the start, but Taylor – who afterwards called out ringsider Ricky Burns – always looked like the winner.
“I knew my superior boxing skills would come into play, and they would easily win the fight,” said Taylor of his Braehead Arena triumph. “My plan A worked, so I didn’t need to change it.”
Josh Taylor, trained by Shane McGuigan, started as the pre-fight favourite and began confidently in Glasgow, moving to his right and countering effectively to the body. Davies’ wild swings were edging closer and closer though, and drew blood from the Scotsman’s nose at the close of the opening session.
Davies started the second round in similar fashion, tucking up behind his left shoulder and lashing his right through the middle, but the classy Taylor was striking too – a left uppercut his finest punch of the stanza.
The action was intense in the third as they exchanged in centre ring. A huge shot to the body winded Davies badly, a right clattered home before a stiff jab buckled the challenger’s legs and sent him to his knees at the bell.
By the fourth, Taylor was content he had figured out his rival. A left hook stung Davies who could do nothing but swipe at thin air. The Londoner marched forward on instinct, much to Taylor’s pleasure. His manager Barry McGuigan cheered at ringside, rightfully delighted with the champion’s work. At this point, it looked like just a matter of time.
“We were working on getting underneath those spindly arms,” said McGuigan. “We want guys to be taking a chance early in their careers, this is what the sport needs. We want 50-50 fights, we want more of that.”
By the fifth, it was already 90-10 in Taylor’s favour, as he looped in another accurate right uppercut. Davies had some success, slamming a left off Taylor as he was on the ropes but he was expending energy, and he walked straight into a punishing hook that visibly wobbled him. But Davies again rallied, most of his work inaccurate, but he was still dangerous; Taylor later admitted his enemy possessed heavy hands.
Davies failed to change his approach in the sixth, raggedly stalking, swinging and inviting Taylor to take advantage. The champion walked into a right hand at the end of the round, but at the halfway mark, Davies had a mountain to climb.
Taylor, simply, was the much better fighter. His footwork was exceptional, carrying him in and out of the danger zone almost faultlessly and as Davies again trudged forward, Taylor skipped to his left and blasted a right hook of his rival’s nose. Davies – who beforehand promised victory – sank to the mat for the second time. He beat Howard Foster’s count, but was shaking his head as the referee signalled the fight to continue. Davies quickly turned his back as Taylor attacked, giving Foster no choice to but to stop the contest.
“I knew I was getting to him,” said Taylor. “He quit.”