Josh Taylor added the WBC Silver belt to his Commonwealth title as he stopped Ohara Davies in the seventh round of their thrilling light-welterweight contest at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.
The Scot, 26, had put the previously undefeated Londoner on the canvas with a sweet right to his chin in the third.
But Davies responded bravely and landed tellingly with his own shots.
However, Taylor knocked Davies down twice in the seventh before referee Howard Foster stepped in to end it.
It means the Shane McGuigan-trained fighter takes his record to 10 wins in as many professional bouts, while for Davies, a year younger, it is his first loss in 16.
The pair had been trading insults on social media for weeks prior to the bout and this, no doubt, fuelled the torrent of abuse and boos that rained down on the Hackney fighter as he made his way to the ring amid funereal music, the walk-in music used by former WWE wrestler The Undertaker.
Taylor’s choice of entry music, the soul classic “Nowhere to Run”, sent its own message. However, both boxers began the bout cagily.
Davies’ crouching stance exacerbated his height disadvantage but his long reach helped to keep Taylor at bay and the threat of an uppercut was never far away.
The Scot is blessed with speedy hands and feet and he had Davies in trouble in the third as he slammed into his opponent’s midriff before putting him down with a right hand at the end of the round.
Davies rose to take a standing count and resumed the contest just before the bell sounded.
The Essex-based fighter showed courage to recover in time to trade blows with Taylor in the fourth round but his shots were too often delivered when off balance. Taylor’s punches were the cleaner.
A low blow had the tartan-shorted Taylor wincing in the fifth before he rallied to deliver a powerful right to send Davies reeling. Yet Davies finished the round the stronger as Taylor seemed to take a breather.
As his punch rate dropped further at the beginning of the sixth, Davies took his chance to impose himself on the fight and hammered three rights to Taylor’s head. This spurred him to retaliate and he looked to have Davies on the verge of going down again with a flurry of ferocious punches.
As the bell sounded at the midway point, the animosity appeared to have been replaced, in part at least, by mutual respect.
Taylor came out the sharper in round seven and, in his first fight in Glasgow after three in both Edinburgh and the United States, and bouts around the UK, he had the home fans out of their seats as twice he felled his opponent.
Foster stepped in two minutes and 24 seconds into the round, prompting wild celebrations by Taylor, the McGuigan camp and his ecstatic fans.
Earlier, on the undercard, Edinburgh’s Jason Easton stopped Steve Jamoye of Liege at the end of the ninth round to secure the vacant IBO intercontinental super-lightweight title. It was unbeaten Easton’s 10th consecutive win.
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