Josh Taylor has become undisputed light welterweight world champion after beating Jose Ramirez on a dramatic night in Las Vegas.
The Scottish fighter becomes the UK’s first unified world champion of the four-belt era and only the fifth man to hold all four belts in his weight class. He is now the first Scot to be undisputed world champion since Ken Buchanan returned from Los Angeles with two belts 50 years ago.
Taylor beat Ramirez by unanimous decision to add the Mexican-American’s WBC and WBO belts to his own WBA and IBF titles.
The win comes after just 18 professional fights for the ‘Tartan Tornado’, who won on all three judge’s scorecards by 114-112.
With both fighters unbeaten going into the fight, there was a confident approach to the fight from their respective camps and the champions brought their best in a memorable fight.
Both came out on the front foot, freely exchanging blows and showing an appetite to display their best but it was Ramirez that had the best of the opening rounds.
Taylor had landed telling blows and also taken his share but the action went up a level when he put his opponent down early in the sixth. Having been backed towards the corner, Taylor hit Ramirez with a left to the jaw that sent him crashing to the canvas.
Ramirez bounced back up and was all energy, looking to prove there was no lasting damage but Taylor had the best of the round by far.
In the seventh, Taylor put his opponent down again, a left uppercut putting Ramirez on his back. This time the American looked shaken but saw out the round to return to his corner.
Taylor was patient in the eighth, looking for openings but not taking risks as Ramirez, less solid on his feet, sought an answer. The ninth brought more of the same.
Having been down twice, Ramirez was having to make advances, looking for big punches to get him back in contention and he put Taylor under pressure, finding success with the jab but leaving himself open to some solid hits as he pressed forward.
By the 11th, both were showing some signs or tiredness but no indication of letting up with the fight still in the balance. Ramirez put Taylor on the back foot with a right hook late in the round and the round finished with both fighters raising their arm claiming to be on top.
The final round saw Ramirez throw everything at Taylor, knowing he was behind but finishing strongly. He chased Taylor down but without real success, though he had the Scot using all his guile to tie up his opponent. The final seconds saw Taylor weave out of trouble before the bell and both fighters awaited the scorecard with the destination of four belts still on the line but the Scot having greater expectation than his rival.
The result brought confirmation that the knockdowns had shown Taylor to be the better man on the night and he lifted both hands in triumph, having put his name in the history books as one of Scotland’s best ever fighters.
Taylor’s rise to the top
Taylor began his professional career six years ago, having won silver and gold medals at the Commonwealth games as an amateur.
After working his way to Commonwealth light welterweight champion in 2017, the Prestonpans boxer took on highly rated Ohara Davies at Braehead and won in the seventh round to take the WBC Super title. Successful defences against Miguel Vazquez and Vikor Postol added to his burgeoning reputation and Taylor entered the World Boxing Super Series.
After stopping Ryan Martin in the quarter-finals, he faced Ivan Baranchyk for the Belarusian’s IBF title, which he took by unanimous decision.
That set up a unification bout with WBA champion Regis Prograis and won by majority decision, becoming a two-belt champion and winning the Ali trophy. In December 2020 he defended his titles with a first round Ko of Apinung Khongsong.
Having now won all four belts in the light welterweight division, Taylor could now move up in weight, having said that he wants to challenge Terence Crawford at 147 pounds.