Josh Taylor demolishes Ohara Davies in seven
GLASGOW, Scotland – So good guys don’t always finish last.
In a battle of unbeaten junior welterweights, Josh Taylor retained his Commonwealth championship with an explosive seventh-round stoppage over the precocious, albeit talented, Ohara Davies at the Braehead Arena on Saturday. The official time was 2:24.
This was a Scotland vs. England duel that was dripping with bad blood from the moment it was announced. Taylor, from Edinburgh, had engaged in a fierce war of words with the London-born boxer-puncher but, while he may have lost the verbal battle, the sharpshooting southpaw prevailed when it mattered most.
Taylor decked Davies with a flurry in Round 3 and closed with a perfect right hook counter in the seventh. Davies, cringing under the follow-up assault, waved his hand in surrender but Taylor got off another three or four brutal power shots before referee Howard Foster intervened.
“I’m just over the moon,” said Taylor during the post-fight press conference. “After all the buildup, the emotion, getting all that out was great. I’m not surprised that I knocked him out.
“I could see everything coming. My first line of defense was my feet and then after I controlled things from there, I was able to beat him on the inside. He tried to start with the verbal to draw me into a fight and I knew I had him.”
There wasn’t a lot of clean contact in Round 1 but the fluidity of Taylor’s footwork made the visitor look crude. An aggressive Davies missed with several big power punches while the Scotsman, a very adept switch-hitter, looked for cleaner and shorter blows.
Davies landed his signature shot, a big right hand, in Round 2 but Taylor shook it off effortlessly and remained focused. The home fighter punched inside Davies’ assaults and there was so much variety; Taylor bobbed and weaved, caught punches on the gloves and rammed home hooks to head and body.
It was all going like a dream.
The Scotsman closed the distance in the third and was noticeably more aggressive. He moved his head to draw leads and threaded home some terrific counterpunches. When Davies’ went down on the end of a flurry and took a mandatory eight-count, Taylor berated him verbally from a neutral corner.
The Edinburgh man was more schooled, more polished and more imaginative. The Englishman had no Plan B when his power was ineffective and he was being made to pay – heavily. Davies had repeatedly said that he would leave the ring if the fight went over six rounds. He got battered for most of that session but elected to stay.
It was a clinic by the seventh. Taylor picked his man off in-close and at distance before flooring him with the right hand. The visitor rose gamely but it was all over.
Taylor (10-0, 9 knockouts) was a decorated amateur star and, so far, the 26-year-old Scotsman is living up to his potential. The former Olympian from London 2012 has the backing of Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions, which has fast-tracked him since he turned professional in 2015. That’s proved to be a risk worth taking, because Taylor is one to watch.
Davies will be back. The Englishman had a very brief amateur career but he has adapted well to the professional game. Taylor’s tenacity and superior experience may have proved decisive in this matchup but a little more development and Davies (15-1, 12 KOs) might be able to make up for what was a brutal defeat.
Tom Gray is a U.K. Correspondent / Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing