Taylor star turn despite trying to put on show
Scot wins unanimous points decision but admits he tried too hard on Vegas debut
JOSH TAYLOR, the Commonwealth super lightweight champion, admits he needs to learn to relax after conceding that he was too keen to put on a show in his unanimous points victory over Alfonso Olvera in Las Vegas.
The Edinburgh fighter maintained his flawless record with an eighth straight win in the eight-round bout at MGM Grand – with the judges scoring the clash 79-72, 78-73 and 78-73.
Taylor’s success early yesterday morning came just hours before stablemate Carl Frampton lost his WBA crown in a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz.
Olvera proved a durable opponent for Taylor, who was taken to eight rounds for the first time in his career, but the 26-year-old admits that it was not a vintage performance.
He said: “I wasn’t bothered about getting the knock-out, I was just a bit apprehensive, too excited to put on a good show to impress on the big stage. It wasn’t my best performance.
“I just need to learn to relax a little bit but all-in-all it was a good performance. I got the eight rounds and I felt comfortable in there. I didn’t really get out of second gear. It was good, a good eight rounds. He was very awkward. He left himself open but he was very awkward and he had a long range.
“He came at me with awkward shots at awkward angles but it was a decent performance and it was good to get the eight rounds under my belt. On to the next one.”
The Tartan Tornado had a point deducted in the sixth round for a low shot but Taylor’s victory was never in doubt after catching Olvera with a series of blows throughout the fight.
Taylor spent four weeks in Vegas preparing for the bout alongside Frampton and admits it has been an unforgettable experience.
Taylor, who beat Dave Ryan in his home city last October to claim the Commonwealth title, added: “It’s been brilliant, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve lapped it up and enjoyed every second. I can’t wait to come back and do it all again.”
Frampton, meanwhile, has called on Santa Cruz to complete the trilogy with a final showdown in Belfast after he was beaten for the first time in his career on a majority points decision at the MGM Grand as Santa Cruz regained the belt he lost to the Northern Irishman in July.
Santa Cruz is open to the idea of a decider and Frampton wants the fight in his backyard.
“I hope so, I hope he is a man of his word and we can do it in Belfast,” he said. “I have come to the States twice. We could do it four, five, six times. I hope we do it again. I am deeply disappointed but let’s have a trilogy.”
One judge scored the contest at 114-114, but the other two gave it 115-113 in Santa Cruz’s favour and the Mexican took a deserved victory.
It was a smart performance by Santa Cruz, who improved immeasurably from the first bout in New York last summer, and his tactics shocked Frampton.
“I think it was the right decision, I thought it was close,” the Northern Irishman added. “He frustrated me at times, I didn’t expect that game plan, the boxer got out-boxed by the brawler. I thought it was the right decision.”
JOB DONE: Josh Taylor is declared the unanimous winner.