Scotland’s Josh Taylor became the undisputed Super Lightweight world champion, as he knocked Jose Ramirez down twice on the way to a thrilling unanimous decision win at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas.
Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) came into the fight as the WBA (Super), IBF and Ring Magazine champion, and he added Ramirez’s WBC and WBO straps to his collection to complete the full set of crowns, and emulate his hero, the former undisputed Lightweight world champion, Ken Buchanan, whilst also becoming the first Briton to hold all four belts.
Taylor began well, pawing with his jab while also landing some decent body shots in the first round, and the second was another good one for the Scot, although Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) did step on the gas towards the end of the frame with good body work of his own.
Both men were investing to the body, and the Californian applied pressure on Taylor in the third, bullying his opponent and using his strength to his advantage, and, as the round came to a close, the 30-year-old elected to hold as he took a left hand from the Californian.
Every time Taylor was backed against the ropes, Ramirez was allowed to tee off with heavy shots, but the visitor’s best work came from centre ring, in what was proving to be energy sapping stuff from the pair.
Taylor boxed much better in round five, timing his opponent with eye-catching straight left hands, and at the beginning of the sixth, he connected with a counter left hand that dropped the WBC and WBO boss.
It was a heavy enough knockdown, but Ramirez was afforded time to recover by referee, Kenny Bayless, and he came straight back with hurtful punches of his own in what was an absorbing round full of action.
If that was a breakthrough for Taylor, the end of the seventh saw him to the brink of victory, when a left uppercut straight through the pipe floored Ramirez for a second time, and this time he rose unsteadily, but he beat the generous count by Bayless, and saw out the dying embers of the session.
The 28-year-old was starting to look a tired man, and ‘The Tartan Tornado’ was oozing confidence, freely landing with the left hand in the eighth, while dictating the pace in round nine.
The Prestonpans man was boxing beautifully and round ten saw him use his footwork to create angles to catch Ramirez with the left hand, while also countering any body shots he had to offer.
Ramirez wasn’t quite done though, as a jarring left hand towards the back end of the penultimate frame had Taylor on the retreat, but he managed to ride out the storm as the thrilling contest went to the final three minutes. The pair left it all in the ring, and it was down to the judges to declare a winner.
All three judges deemed Taylor a 114-112 victor, with the knockdowns proving crucial in crowning the 30-year-old the undisputed ten stone king.
Taylor hinted at a homecoming against WBO mandatory, Jack Catterall post-fight, whilst also outlining future ambitions to face WBO Welterweight titlist, Terence Crawford.
Zepeda defends WBC Silver title
Two-time former world title challenger Jose Zepeda defended his WBC Silver Super Lightweight title with a pretty lifeless ten round points win over Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy (31-9-1, 14 KOs).
Zepeda (34-2, 26 KOs) was also defending his number one ranking with the WBC, and three scores of 98-92 were enough for him to do just that.
Dominican Super Lightweight Elvis Rodriguez was handed his first professional loss, as Kenneth Sims Jr took a majority decision win over eight rounds. Two scores of 78-74 were good enough to give the man from Chicago the win, against a 76-76 draw verdict.
Jose Enrique Durantes Vivas took a tight points win in his Super Featherweight contest with Luis Coria. Three scores of 75-74 moved the Mexican to 21-1. Andres Cortes made it 14 straight wins, as the Las Vegas Lightweight outpointed Eduardo Garza over eight. Scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 handed the 23 year old victory.
Gifted Cuban double Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez improved his record to 7-1, as he outscored Ryan Lee Allen over six at Featherweight. Two scores of 60-53 and a third at 59-54 were enough for the win.
Exciting Californian Super Lightweight Raymond Muratalla scored a fifth round stoppage win against Jose Gallegos, while at Middleweight, Javier Martinez notched a fourth round knockout of Calvin Metcalf.