Becoming the undisputed super-lightweight champion of the world was a culmination of years of discipline and toil for Josh Taylor.
After registering a stirring points victory over rival unified champion Jose Ramirez, the Scottish maestro reflected on his remarkable achievement with justifiable pride.
Following a prickly fight week where the Scot tried to ruffle Ramirez with trash talk and mind games, Taylor was also quick to pay his respects to his beaten opponent.
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve trained my whole life for this. I’ve dedicated my whole life for this moment. I’ve dreamt of it so many times over, man,” Taylor told ESPN. “I’m so, so happy. I’m over the moon. I’ve trained for this moment all my life.
“I’m just so determined and my will to win is second to none. On the lead up to the fight this week, the plan was to get in his head and use his aggression against him. That’s what I did. It worked perfectly all week. I didn’t mean any disrespect or anything, it was all just to get inside his head and it worked. I’ve got nothing but love for Ramirez.
“I thought the scorecards were a little tight [114-112 on all three cards]. I thought they were well wider than that. I wasn’t too happy with the selection of the judges, but I wasn’t going to moan. I was confident in winning this fight anyway.”
The laser-focused Taylor crucially dropped Ramirez in the sixth and seventh rounds, with the latter knockdown from a left uppercut badly hurting the Californian and survival coming courtesy of a slow count and time delaying intervention from referee Kenny Bayless.
“I actually think the referee gave him too much time,” said Taylor of that seventh round incident. “He’s a very, very tough guy, and I hurt him a couple of times. Hats off to Ramirez. He’s a great person as well, [I have] admiration for him even more so after that fight.
“I could have made that fight easier if I kept disciplined a little bit more. When he got success was when I put my hands up and closed my guard and let him throw. He was strong doing that. It would have been a harder fight to stand and trade with him, even though when I trade with him, I landed the better punches.”
The beaten Ramirez insisted he was never in trouble after the knockdowns and rued the mistakes that cost him the fight.
“I was never hurt. I was aware. I was just disappointed every time it happened,” claimed the Californian. “I tried to shake it off and get back to my rhythm. But it was overall a good fight. Hopefully, I get back and I learn from my mistakes. You win some and you lose some.
“I felt like I landed some clean shots. It came down to the clinches. He would let his hands go as soon as he got his chance and I think I left it to the referee to do his part and it was a lack of experience on my part.”
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.