Ringside report: Taylor vs Davies produces the goods

Martin Chesnutt
09/07/2017 9:00pm

Martin Chesnutt reports from ringside in Glasgow as the much hyped battle of super lightweight prospects sees Josh Taylor halt Ohara Davies by seventh round TKO...

On Saturday night, at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Josh Taylor showed more variety and was technically sharper, stopping Ohara Davies in the seventh round of their high-profile super lightweight grudge match.

British fight fans find it very hard to resist these type of domestic showdowns, and this was no different, really catching imaginations in the two weeks leading up to fight night.

Davies, from London, didn’t get the result he was after, but deserves a lot of credit as the principal salesperson, playing the role of travelling bad guy to perfection.

Both fighters made a good case for themselves in the build-up, which reflected at the bookies, in what was essentially a 50/50 fight, with marginally more money coming in for the home fighter.

Taylor, from Edinburgh and part of Cyclone Promotions, was composed ahead of the fight, insisting that his team had devised a plan which he was perfectly comfortable executing.

By the time the men were en route to the ring, the level of nerves and excitement in the crowd were a perfect example of why people fall head over heels in love with boxing. Hands were shaking!

With the stakes at such a level, the boxers had a close ‘feeling out’ opening round, but the air of menace was with Davies. His unusual wide stance, slowly stalking forward, flicking out a long jab, let the crowd and Taylor stew, wondering when the vaunted right hand would be introduced.

Taylor did well slipping many of the jabs directed at him, and reasonably quickly it became apparent what his plan was: get to Davies’ body.

Ahead of the fight it had been suggested that Davies may have stamina issues, and Team Taylor were on board with this, their man really asserting himself by getting as close as possible to Davies, firing in short, sharp shots to all areas of the body.

Taylor was also having some early success with the right hook, and in the third round dividends were being realised, with Davies touching down just prior to the bell.

But the Davies threat did not leave, and for all of the willing on from the home crowd when the momentum was with Taylor, they also urged their man to retreat and protect himself when Davies opened up, understanding that this contest could turn in an instant.

Prior to the fight Davies predicted he would stop Taylor within six rounds, and this had me wondering if he, also, was unsure of going the distance, in this adrenaline fuelled step-up fight.

Early in the seventh round the referee warned the boxers for too much talking, and, again, I wondered: was Davies encouraging a war, feeling his best chance was by stoppage?

The Londoner was game, but Taylor was doing the better work, accuracy and variety giving him the edge, when he landed a right hook that was as on the button as you’ll ever see.

Davies rose from the floor, but was clearly distressed, and when Taylor pounced again, the fight was stopped.

This year has been a particularly good one for boxing, but we regularly hope for more exposure, to share our sport, and you don’t get more exposure than terrestrial television.

Despite the historic rivalry between the promotional outfits, Cyclone Promotions and Matchroom Promotions, both companies deserve credit for coming together to make this fight.

Please explain to me how this could be bad for business? Impossible.

Ultimately, a huge round of applause should go to the fighters. We moan about protected records and not getting the fights we really want, so let's acknowledge the boxers when we do.

Davies didn’t get the result he wanted, but both fighters got to experience real 'main event' status, were well paid, are now known to a much wider audience, and participated in an event that produced.