Josh Taylor enjoyed what should be a breakout victory over Regis Prograis at The 02 in their World Boxing Super Series: Light Welterweight final on Saturday, where ‘The Tartan Tornado’ added the WBA super belt to his IBF strap. In what was classically labelled a ’50/50′ fight beforehand indeed turned out to be as well contested a fight over thirty minutes you are likely to see this year. Two undefeated fighters stepped into the ring on Saturday night both clearly confident they would be the one who could edge what was always going to be a closely fought contest between two world class operators.
In front of an ever electric 02 Arena crowd, which had just seen a dramatic brawl between David Price and Dereck Chisora. Taylor, well away from his native Scotland received a thundering response from the rafters as he looked to show off his boxing prowess on the big stage. Many predicted that this would be a boxing match between two highly skilled fighters, much like Loma/Campbell a few weeks back, yet instead it was a physical war of attrition with each man unwilling to take a step back for any significant length of time. The early rounds were close but Prograis’ head movement and stinging uppercut at close range were the standouts with Taylor struggling to dominate the fight as he promised in the build up. A brilliant double jab, left hand combo by Prograis in the fourth rocked Taylor and the early signs seemed ominous for the Edinburgh fighter.
However through what seemed like pure will, Taylor began to beat his opponent to the punch in the middle rounds as Prograis’ suddenly looked to be in trouble as Taylor chin checked the American on numerous occasions in rounds six through nine. With a brilliant ninth showcasing the hearts of each man as they traded in centre ring putting everything on the line in London’s docklands. A nasty swollen right eye for Taylor should have severly hampered his intensity and output but it instead seemed to hone in his intentions even more as he seemed unwilling to be defeated. The championship rounds were as dramatic and brutal as those that had preceded them with Prograis somehow finding a second wind with Taylor still relentless in his pursuit of victory. Both men were hurt, bloodied and tired yet neither stopped swinging until the final bell which called time on yet other fight of the year contender.
With home advantage still a clear factor in close decisions, it looked as though Taylor had just edged the fight on points yet when scores of 114-114, 115-113 and a far too wide 117-112 were announced, the crowd held its breath. Though the thunderous proclamation by ring announcer David Diamante that indeed Taylor was the victor sunk Taylor to his knees in teary joy as a wave of euphoria flooded the arena. It was a truly memorable moment, which will hopefully be the start of what could be an epic journey for Taylor, who was the potential to be a pound-for-pound star now that his boxing ability has been showcased across the globe.
A rematch with Prograis would not be unwelcome, as the American will no doubt come again yet Taylor will no doubt focus on trying to unify the division versus Jose Ramirez who has the WBC and WBO versions of the light welterweight belts after brutally stopping Maurice Hooker in the summer. That was would be a huge occasion, which Taylor has hinted he would love to do in either America or his native Edinburgh. And of course as stated last week on thesixyardring a potential showdown between Lewis Ritson and Taylor at St James Park could one of the biggest British fights ever if built properly. Whoever Taylor chooses next, Scotland have a world star in their midst and the sky should be the limit for a superb boxer who can also fight with the best of them.
If you enjoyed this article or any others on thesixyardring feel free to like/share/RT them or alternatively mention them to friends as you all wonder how the hell these boxers do it sometimes.