Undisputed world super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor felt he had reached his destiny after making British boxing history.
Taylor floored Jose Ramirez twice in Las Vegas to score a unanimous points victory and become only the fifth man and the first Briton to claim the WBO, WBA, IBF and WBC titles simultaneously since the four-belt era officially began in 2004.
The Scot knocked Ramirez down in consecutive rounds and felt his victory had been more emphatic than the 114-112 scores awarded by all three judges.
Taylor joins Oleksandr Usyk, Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor and Terence Crawford in securing the clean sweep and is the first Scot to be undisputed world champion since Ken Buchanan returned from Los Angeles with two belts 50 years ago.
“This has been 15 years in the making, dedicating my life to the sport, putting everything on hold, my social life, things I wanted to do with my friends, my family, my fiancee, things I have missed out on. It has all been geared to this moment, and it has finally paid off,” said Taylor after his 18th professional fight.
“I don’t feel surprised, I really don’t feel surprised that I am undisputed champion. But it has not sunk in yet.”
Taylor withstood some heavy shots in the third and fourth rounds before catching Ramirez with a counter left hook in the sixth.
An uppercut in the latter stages of the seventh rocked Ramirez further and Taylor controlled the fight in the following rounds before keeping out of the way of his Californian opponent’s attempts to land a late knockout.
“He left himself open, he put his head down and I took a step back and hit him with the upper-cut,” Taylor said. “I actually think the referee gave him too much time, that should have been fight over.
“He was very, very tough, hats off to Ramirez. But after I put him down, the fight was on my terms. I just stood and boxed and he didn’t know what to do.”
Taylor apologised to Ramirez after getting into fight mode during the first face-off and weigh-in.
“It was all just part of the mind games to get inside his head to make him more eager to jump in on me, to use his aggression against him,” the Prestonpans fighter said.
“It worked perfectly, I walked him into some good shots.
“I have nothing but love and respect for Ramirez, he was a great champion and a great ambassador for the sport, I wish him all the best for the future.”
Taylor could now be set to fight Chorley’s Jack Catterall, who had been the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt that Ramirez put on the line, but he is eager to create more history.
“We will see what comes my way, I am not going to be short of options,” the 30-year-old said. “Every fight is going to be huge. I will just ride the wave.
“There’s big fights at 140. I am not afraid to fight anybody. We might have to fight Catterall first as well, he agreed to step aside to let this fight happen.
“I’ve not boxed in my home city for a few years so I would love to take a big fight back to Scotland. Now is the time to get that fight at Edinburgh Castle or Easter Road.”
Taylor added: “I still don’t feel I have reached my full potential. Until I feel I don’t think I could do any better, I am going to keep going and going. I am hungry for more.”