Junior welterweight Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor 15-0 (12) claimed his first world title with a clear-cut 12-round unanimous points victory over Ivan ‘The Beast’ Baranchyk 19-1 (12) at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday night.
Taylor won the IBF crown by scores of 117-109, 115-111 and 115-111 in front of more than 6,000 hometown fans.
The 28-year-old southpaw will now face WBA 140-pound champion and fellow lefthander Regis Prograis 24-0 (20) in an intriguing clash of style in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) final.
“It’s a dream come true,” Taylor said. “I was pretty comfortable in there but switched off a couple times, and I could have made it a bit more comfortable for myself.”
The slick boxing Taylor swept the first four rounds, playing the matador to Baranchyk’s bull. But the 26-year-old Belarusian roared back in the fifth, landing a hard right hand and rattling Taylor with a pair of uppercuts.
Taylor delivered the receipt in a back-and-forth sixth round, flooring Baranchyk twice, once with a right cross and again with a pair of left hands.
“If I had more time in that round (the sixth), I would have stopped him. I was just picking him off with my jab,” said Taylor.
Baranchyk rebounded in the seventh, rallying back to open a cut over Taylor’s left eye, but the local fighter regained his composure to land some sharp punches in the eighth.
With the fight slipping away from him, Baranchyk tried hard but it was the sharper, more accurate blows from the craft Scot that saw him get the better of the titleholder in the last three frames.
It was a comprehensive victory for Taylor, who performed under the watchful eye of his next opponent Prograis from ringside.
“It was a hell of a fight, and I felt like I was going to fight him (Taylor) anyway and now I can’t wait for it,” Prograis said.