Last night in Edinburgh, Scotland unbeaten 140 pounder Josh Taylor made a big statement in becoming the very first man to halt tough, clever and hugely experienced former IBF lightweight champ Miguel Vazquez.
Cracking the Mexican with a wicked right hand to the body in the 9th round, Taylor got the stoppage he was looking for. The punch knocked all of the wind out of the 30 year old former champ, Vazquez counted out as he tried and failed to suck in oxygen. 26 year old Taylor of Prestonpans, Scotland is now 11-0(10), the skilled southpaw having retained his WBC Silver title. Vazquez falls to 39-6(15).
The fight, Taylor’s biggest by far, turned out to be his toughest, yet also, with the KO win, his most impressive. Vazquez used all his experience and his bag of tricks to make Taylor miss; Vazquez really proving to be a tough target to hit. A clash of heads in round-two left Taylor with a nasty cut above the left eye but panic never set in.
There were some cagey rounds and Vazquez was picking up his share of points. But Taylor, seen by many as a future world champion, pushed the pace in the middle rounds, his fast hands connecting to head and body. The end came after a fusillade of shots backed Vazquez up and had him disorganised in the ninth; the final right hook to the body being a real peach of a shot.
Taylor now moves onto even bigger things.
“It was really tough, definitely the hardest test of my career so far,” Taylor said afterwards. “People were saying he’s not a puncher, but he was heavier-handed than what people were giving him credit for. I was getting a wee bit frustrated with myself, but once I relaxed and stopped trying too hard I started to get my shots off and got him out of there. That is the first time he’s ever been stopped so that is a massive statement for me to make.”
In going into the ninth-round, Taylor was extended further than ever before. He certainly showed no stamina problems of any kind. It’s tough to see where Vazquez goes from here. A proud former champion, the Mexican will not want to carry on if he’s to become a trial horse or journeyman.