Edinburgh boxer Josh Taylor is hoping his maiden victory in Las Vegas is just the first of many as he stretched his unbeaten run to eight with a unanimous points win over Mexican Alfonso Olvera.
The 26-year-old Scot was put through his paces at the MGM Grand by his durable opponent but the result was never in doubt, with all three judges awarding the contest in favour of the Commonwealth super lightweight champion.
Taylor once again reaffirmed he has the mettle to handle such an occasion – he did, after all, win 64kg gold in front of a crowd of 10,000 in his final bout as an amateur at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The MGM Grand, however, is where the sport’s top athletes aspire to and Taylor fully intends to make a swift return having sampled his first taste of what it has to offer.
“It’s been absolutely brilliant out here,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute of it, lapped it all up with the atmosphere and everything, so I can’t wait to come back and do it again.”
Olvera was a completely different proposition to the one Taylor had encountered when he stopped Derby’s Dave Ryan in the fifth round to win his first title at Meadowbank in October. He did find himself in unfamiliar territory of having to go the distance to grind out the win. Prior to Saturday night’s triumph, only Ryan had managed to prolong the contest beyond round two.
“It was good, a good eight rounds but he was very awkward,” Taylor explained. “He left himself open at times and very long range. But, all in all, it was a decent performance and good to get the eight rounds in so we’ll move on to the next one.
“I wasn’t bothered about getting the knock-out but I was quite anxious to put on a good show to impress on the big stage.
“I just need to learn to relax a little bit. I felt comfortable in there and didn’t really get out of second gear.”
Meanwhile, Taylor’s Cyclone Promotions stable-mate Carl Frampton suffered the first setback of his professional career as he lost his WBA world super featherweight title by a majority decision to another Mexican in Leo Santa Cruz.
The Northern Irishman, a two-weight world champion, was surprisingly outboxed by his opponent as Santa Cruz gained revenge for the defeat inflicted by Frampton, the first of his career, in New York six months ago.
However, the Ulsterman had no complaints over the decision, admitting the better man won, but vowed to come back stronger.
Both boxers also stated in their post-fight interviews their desire to fight one another for a third time, Belfast being the preferred location for Frampton.