Josh Taylor combined skill and guts to achieve something unprecedented in the history of British boxing
The magnitude of Josh Taylor’s Las Vegas heroics in the early hours of yesterday morning cannot be understated. His latest accomplishment even prompted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to tweet her congratulations towards the Tartan Tornado. This is big news. Taylor is hot property.
His biggest triumph to date saw him crowned the undisputed super lightweight king of the world and the first British boxer in the four-belt era to achieve such a feat.
It required a combination of skill, guts – a true warrior-like approach that will long live in the memory of those who tuned in to watch a master at work.
His unanimous victory over the bold Jose Ramirez at the Virgin Hotels resort was of gargantuan proportions. As a whole nation drew breath 5,000 miles away, those who had stumbled out of bed in hope of witnessing history were treated to an epic contest between two men willing to put everything on the line in pursuit of boxing royalty.
The pre-fight build-up exploded into life at Friday's much anticipated weigh-in, both boxers and their respective teams coming to blows that gave every fight fan across the globe a little glimpse into what was to come 24 hours later. And it didn't disappoint.
This wasn't the first time Taylor's hand had been raised in Sin City, though. He registered his eighth pro win at the iconic MGM Grand in January 2017 over another Mexican-American, Alfonso Olvera, on the undercard of former Cyclone stable-mate Carl Frampton's world title defeat to Leo Santa Cruz. If the now-retired former two-weight world champion Frampton was the main draw that night, all eyes were on Taylor this time round.
But Ramirez has the heart of a lion and more than proved why he had reeled off 26 successive wins. The 28-year-old had to overcome two knockdowns in rounds six and seven just to see out the final bell. Taylor threatened to win by stoppage and had referee Kenny Bayless not afforded the Mexican-American additional time to recover following his put downs, the win might have been even more emphatic.
Spurred on by a raucous Mexican support inside the 1,200-capacity venue, Ramirez had his moments but Taylor was always the busier fighter.
There was very little to separate the duo after five rounds, though, and that was reflected in the judges' scorecards. But Taylor exploded into life to land the first blow on his opponent, Ramirez unable to stay on his feet following a big left hand from the Prestonpans puncher. It was only the third time Ramirez had been dropped in his career and the first since 2016. Worse was to follow in round seven when a ferocious uppercut left a startled Ramirez staring up at the ceiling with little more than 30 seconds until the bell.
Although Taylor was in control, the hard work hadn't finished yet.
Ramirez had to dig deep if he were to rescue his own undisputed aspirations and, to his credit, made a right good go of it.
But the former Lochend amateur is cut from a different cloth. All three judges scored the contest 114-112, Taylor insisting that wasn't a true reflection of how the 12 rounds panned out. "I knew I was ahead going into the last round but the scores the judges gave were a farce," he said.
"If I hadn't knocked Ramirez down then it would have been a draw. What a joke that would have been! I knew they were going to try that but I was the clear, clear winner.
"He (Bayless) actually gave Ramirez too much time to recover so that should have been the fight over. The count was so much longer than what it should have been. But hats off to Ramirez he's a very tough guy and what a champion he was.
"I've nothing but respect and admiration for him, even more so now. I hurt him a couple of times and after I'd put him down all the fight was on my terms. I just stood and boxed him and he didn't know what to do.
"He's a very good puncher but I never felt in any trouble throughout the whole fight. It was quite easy to keep the distance and keep boxing him. I actually could have made that fight a little bit easier if I had kept a little bit more discipline. My will to win is second to none.
"I've shown that hard work and dedication pays off. I don't feel surprised that I'm undisputed champion.
"It probably won't hit me for a few days though until I realise what I've achieved. It's something special.
"The fight panned out the way I thought it was going to. I don't believe in ring rust. I had great sparring in the gym. The sparring partners weren't all-out wars, a lot of it was working on technique and what my coach Ben (Davison) and I have been working on.
"But I still don't feel I've reached my full potential.
"I could happily retire now as I've ticked all the boxes but I've still got more to achieve. I'm going to keep going until I don't think I can do any better.
"But I need to enjoy this moment with my family and friends first before I start to think about what lies ahead."
• Our coverage of Josh Taylor’s undisputed world title fight is proudly brought to you in association with WOW Hydrate www.wowhydrate.com