Tuesday, March 20, 2018  |


Josh Taylor dominates Miguel Vazquez, scores ninth-round knockout

Photo by Shabba Shafiq

EDINBURGH, Scotland – The 140-pound division is on notice.

Talented junior welterweight Josh Taylor put on an impressive display in front of a raucous home support, scoring a ninth-round knockout over former lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez at the Royal Highland Center. The official time was 2:30.

Taylor, who is rated No. 10 by THE RING at 140 pounds, survived a cut left eye to dominate almost every session and then closed the show with a brutal right hook to the body from the southpaw stance. Vazquez never attempted to rise from the canvas and instead knelt throughout the referee’s count with his head bowed in surrender. It was the first time the Mexican had ever been stopped.

“(Vazquez) was very experienced and he was very tough,” said Taylor (11-0, 10 knockouts). “He caught me with a few good shots when I switched off and I shouldn’t be switching off. Later in the fight, I started catching him to the body and the first really clean body shot I landed did the job.

“I’d like to fight Anthony Yigit for the European title before I move on to fight for a world title. I think that would be a really good belt to get.”

The Scotsman, being the natural junior welterweight, looked the bigger man when the pair faced off during the referee’s instructions. Consequently, the home fighter felt confident enough to take center ring and do most of the leading. Vazquez, a known spoiler, did his best to interrupt Taylor’s rhythm and timing.

After getting off to a good start in the second, Taylor, 26, was cut above the left eye following a clash of heads. The wound seemed to distract the home fighter as he came out blazing in the third and left himself open to one or two counters.

Vazquez (39-6, 15 KOs) wasn’t in Scotland to make up the numbers, but Taylor’s aggression was enough to give him the edge on the early sessions.

There was some strong power punching from Taylor in the fifth. He tagged Vazquez with a series of big left hands but was unable to put a serious dent in the Mexican. Relying on his vast skill set, Taylor tried a bit of everything; he switched to orthodox, varied the power in his assaults to set up big shots and used his feet to locate angles. Still, Vazquez located the escape routes.

However, at the midway point Vazquez, 30. began to look jaded. Taylor’s youth and tenacity was beginning to break him down, although there was still every possibility that his experience would get him to the finish line. It was not to be and Taylor’s finishing shot in Round 9 was world class.

Taylor looks set for stardom.

The Edinburgh man possesses superb skills, rapier fists, quick feet, power at the weight and all of that is juxtaposed alongside a spiteful attitude in the ring. In his previous outing, Taylor took the hard-hitting Ohara Davies to school, easily stopping the enigmatic Londoner in seven rounds. That was regarded by many as a 50-50 fight, but Taylor looked levels above.

Vazquez has had his kicks and one would think this defeat may signal the end. The Mexican veteran turned professional in 2006, losing by four-round split decision to one Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who was in his third fight. Vazquez paid his dues, eventually claiming the IBF 135-pound title in his 29th fight before making six successful defenses. A split-decision defeat to Mickey Bey, in September 2014, signaled the end of his reign.

For Taylor, the sky continues to be the limit.


Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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  • Raymond Strang

    That was a solid performance by Taylor. Kept his cool despite the cut and the finish was sublime. Euro title should be well in his grasp.

  • Steven Nicholson

    When standout British amateurs turn pro their promoters tend to use their first 15 or so fights to pad their records before giving them a proper test so its refreshing to see Josh Taylor being pushed forward into “big” fights early in his career, who was the last British fighter to fight a guy of Vazquez’s calibre in their 11th pro fight?

  • Teddy Reynoso

    Miguel Vasquez was indeed a big test for an upcoming fighter as Josh Taylor but it must be noted that the Mexican is not a legit world class super lightweight. He has seen better days as lightweight even winning a world title at that weight class and holding it for sometime until he got outpointed in a controversial decision by American Mickey Bey who also was no longer champion currently. It seems that Vasquez is just winding up his career at 140 which is going nowhere. Its good that Taylor saw the win meant little and set to prove himself more in the division by targeting Yigit for the European title.

    • philoe bedoe

      I agree………

      • Ten Count Toronto

        It shouldn’t be completely dismissed. Vasquez went the distance with a young Canelo at 147 and with Tim Bradley at 140 before moving down to 135. His durability and survival skills are well proven – considering this was accomplished with almost no power deterrent whatsoever. So to both break down Vasquez style and to break him physically is an achievement (if it were easy, other top pospects & belt-holders wouldn;t have avoided Vasquez all those years…).

        Of course it does come with the caveat that Vasquez has the punching power of a Banthamweight and while he hasn’t taken too much damage in the ring, he might be an “old” 30 just from getting down to a very gaunt 135 all those years – a good career move when he was 22 but probably took a lot out of him by 2014.

        • Steve G

          I agree with TCT. Vasquez isn’t ‘done’ yet and came to fight, despite not having much punching power. He made life difficult for JT in the first few rounds. Very awkward, crafty and difficult to hit cleanly. You could see all his world-level experience at work and he landed a few decent shots of his own. JT only landed one really good flush head shot in the first 3 or 4 rds. The eye cut JT suffered was from an accidental clash of heads and it bled a bit for a while. But he didn’t let it distract or affect him and showed he can deal with adversity too.

          JT started going to the body more from about the 6th onwards and you could tell it was starting to have an affect on V. At the half-way point I didn’t like Taylor’s chance of stopping him and I thought it would go the distance given a) how the fight was going at the point, and b) MV’s experience and proven record of surviving against top fighters.

          But credit to Taylor – he adjusted his range, timing and game plan and this changed the fight. And the body-shot he finished V with was a peach. I think JT must get some credit. Not just because he’s first to stop V in 45 fights but also this was only Taylors 11th pro fight. Great learning experience for him too. I think the only thing they might have to watch with this kid is possibly moving him along a bit too fast (rare thing these days). There’s already talk of a possible world title shot if he beats Yigit for the Euro title. Not many guys these days challenge for a ligit world title in just their 13th or 14th fight.

    • Nick Bannister

      Vasquez might not be a world beater anymore, but he is such a tough fight for anyone – awkward barely covers it for this guy. I could imagine him boxing circles around many an up and coming fighter even at 50% of his peak powers.

  • Roberto Carlos Guerra

    Congratulations to Josh Taylor.

    By the way, I know this is off topic,
    but why does The Ring have Canelo as the current middleweight champ and GGG rated below him, as #1 middleweight. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Their fight was a draw. GGG was the champion and he kept his titles.

    • Rdb85

      canelo is the ring champ from beating cotto I think

  • ozzy

    Well done Josh Taylor – The Tartan Tornado!. There will be those who will point out that Vasquez is “over the hill” however his awkward style and experience still makes him very hard to deal with. Josh’s pace eventually wore Vasquez down and the finishing body shot was a beauty. IMHO Taylor is already better than the new IBF champ Lipinets and if he continues to improve at his current rate he’s going to take some stopping.

  • Ewan Leaper

    Woohoo! It’s good to be a Scottish boxing fan right now, well done Josh 😃