By Tony McLean (@tony_mclean92)
Josh Taylor retains his WBC Silver super-lightweight title against former world champion – the hardened veteran Miguel Vazquez with a stunning 9th round KO victory in front of a roaring sell-out home crowd.
Taylor know now has his first world level scalp on his record. Not only that, he has a KO victory over a man who had previously never been stopped in 44 contests.
Considering that Vazquez has shared the ring with the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (twice) and Timothy Bradley Jr that’s a pretty big statement coming from the Scotsman, especially being only his 11th professional outing.
Vazquez proved to be Taylors trickiest opponent to date. An awkward ungainly style that seemed dangerous with both hands.
The first round proved to be cagey as both combatants were trying to suss out there equally difficult styles.
Late in the second round, a clash of heads caused a cut above Taylor’s left eye however the Edinburgh man seemed unconcerned. He was beginning to find his range with shots to Vazquez’s body but the Mexican proved to be as tough as everyone had predicted.
The mid rounds saw more of Taylor’s body work come into play which started to slow the Mexican down as he started to look lethargic and sluggish throwing wild shots in the hope to catch the Scott. A few landed but did not seem to phase Taylor at all.
As the fight went on the Prestonpans locals confidence grew as he popped away showing off his impressive movement and punch selection whilst systematically breaking his opponent down.
The fight was looking as if it was going to go the full twelve rounds as Vazquez seemed to soak up everything coming his way.
Then at two minutes and 13 seconds of the ninth round Taylor finally stopped his man with two upper cuts to the chin, a left hook to the head then finishing him off with a crunching right hook to the body, sending him to the canvas with no intentions of getting back up.
Taylor said “It was really tough, definitely the hardest test of my career so far. People were saying he was 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 the shots off and got him out of there. So I am really happy. That is the first time he has ever been stopped to, that is a massive statement for me to make in the 140 scene.”
Edinburgh’s Jason Easton made his first successful defence of his IBO Intercontinental super leightweight title against the very durable Josef Zahradnik of Czech Republic.
Easton improved his record to 11-0 (6KOS) with a relentless unanimous points victory. The Edinburgh local was made to work as Zahradniks chin seemed to be made of steel.
There can’t be many fighters that could endure that much punishment over twelve rounds.
From the opening bell Easton took control of the contest. Working well off of the front foot, he seemed to land at will. A clash of heads at the end of the second left Easton with a nasty cut above left eye. Un-phased by this Easton battered his way to a 12 round unanimous points victory.
Several times in the last few rounds Easton looked like he was going to stop his opponent. Whilst referee Howard Foster kept a close eye on the Czech he somehow managed to take everything coming his way.
As the final bell rang, with no doubt who had won Zahradnik had clearly gained the respect of the 4000 strong sell out crowd at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre as everyone was on their feet.
Easton left the ring bloodied from his cut however seemed happy with his performance. “He’s a very tough guy so respect to him,” said the 26 year-old. “I knew I could last the full twelve rounds though – I was feeling relaxed the whole way through the fight and I knew he wasn’t going to hurt me.”
Reigning British and Scottish amateur 56kg champion Lightning Lee McGregor made his professional debut last night.
In front of a home crowd McGregor dazzled his way to a first round stoppage victory against Bulgaria’s Stefan Sashov. Asserting himself in the professional ranks at the young age of 20.
Martin Bakole wins via first round KO against Ali Baghouz.
(10 x 3 minute rounds)
Chantelle Cameron wins via third round TKO against Edith Ramos
(10 x 2 minute rounds)
Chris Billam-Smith wins via second round KO against Jan Hrazdira
(4 x 3 minute rounds)
Iain Trotter wins a unanimous points victory over Konstantin Alexandrov.
(4 x 3 minute rounds)