By Nate Williams
Josh Taylor moved one step closer to a world title shot by retaining his WBC silver light-welterweight title with a third round stoppage of Winston Campos at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena.
The 27 year-old therefore extends his record to 12 fights without loss by ending Campos’ unbeaten run of 14 fights, even though it was the Nicaraguan fighter’s first fight outside his home country since 2013.
Taylor, who was originally scheduled to face experienced ring veteran Humberto Soto, faced a much fresher challenge in the 25 year-old from Central America, who last fought in December and has a respectable 30 wins and three losses from 38 fights.
“(the change of opponent) didn't phase me at all,” said Taylor, who won a gold medal for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
In my amateur days at World Championships and stuff, you never knew who you were going to fight until the next day so I kept my mindset the same way, and pushed him until I got the win.”
Promoter Barry and Trainer Shane McGuigan were over-awed by their charge’s performance that they say they are targeting a world champion by the end of the year, and with three of the current 140lbs titles vacant, they both believe that goal is achievable.
“He’s progressing all the time and that’s why we’ve had to push him on so fast,” said Shane McGuigan.
“Soto was a blow but I do think he’s ready for a world title shot. There’s only a couple of guys that can test Josh in his division at the moment and we want them.”
The depth in class was clear right from the start as Taylor swept through Campos as viciously and as dominant like the Beast From the East snowstorm that caused much disruption to the Scottish city this week.
Barry McGuigan said: He threatens you by standing in front of you. He’s a spiteful puncher he walked on top of this guy. There’s very few kids that can match him in the world.”
The ‘Tartan Tornado’ from Edinburgh showed his pedigree early by setting his dominance on the front foot, utilising a stiff jab in the first round. Taylor gave Campos a bullish welcome to snowy Glasgow by harassing his opponent on the inside and unleashing a vicious left to the body and a dangerous clip round the back of the head with a whipping right.
Campos crumbled under the pressure and was on his knees at the end of round one but referee Victor Loughlin ruled it as a push.
The two clashed heads at yesterday’s weigh-in as Campos nudged his face into Taylor’s chin. But it was Taylor who wouldn’t give Campos an inch of room in the second round and the Nicaraguan became familiar with the face of the canvas twice.
A crushing body shot dropped Campos before a lightning quick left hook from Taylor sent his opponent crashing into the ropes and on to the seat of his pants.
The fight’s expiration was 44 seconds later in the third when a barrage of punches in the corner saw Campos fall once more. He pounded the ground in frustration after Taylor hit him while he was down.
Campos rose to his feet but the deflation in his eyes made it clear to Loughlin that he had enough, forcing the referee to call an end to proceedings.
Taylor’s team will now turn their attentions to the top of the division as they hunt for their desired world title shot. Taylor says he would like to test himself against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia, who has moved up to challenge Sergey Lipinets for the vacant IBF light-welterweight strap.
However, his promoter Barry McGuigan has his eye on the winner between Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Imam for the vacant WBC belt.
“I’ve got the desire to beat anyone,” said Taylor. “I do like the idea of Mikey Garcia and I’m confident I’ll do well against him but we’ll see what happens.”
McGuigan added: “We’re going to have a look and a couple of them will come up soon. He’s world ranked in all of the governing bodies and we’ll take a look but we will be breathing down the neck of a world champion for sure. One more fight and then we’ll be on the cusp of a world title. Ramirez is the one we’re looking at realistically. He’s the one we want.”
“I believe in my ability and I believe I will be a world champion,” said Taylor
“I didn’t think it would happen as quick but that is the goal and it doesn’t matter to me when my chance comes.”
Earlier on the undercard, Glenn Foot rocked Jason Easton with a rocket right hand in the second round on his way to a devastating 11th round knockout in an enthralling see-saw battle for Taylor’s previous light-welterweight Commonwealth title.
Chantelle Cameron extended her unbeaten run to six fights by defending her IBO world women’s title with a unanimous points win over France’s Myriam Dellal.
And another Scottish favourite in Lee McGregor continued his journey in the paid ranks with a second round stoppage of Pablo Narvaez in his third professional contest.