EDINBURGH super-lightweight Josh Taylor had expected to face Humberto Soto tonight (March 3) in Glasgow, Scotland, and would have anticipated a certain type of fight – long, gruelling, a test of his character and credentials. Instead, he made do with Soto’s replacement, Winston Campos, and expertly cut the Nicaraguan down to size in round three, successfully retaining his WBC Silver title in the process.
Thirty-seven-year-old Soto, a former two-weight world champion, would presumably have taken Taylor rounds, got in his face, roughed him up, perhaps even taught him a trick or two. But, unfortunately, the Mexican was cut in one of his final sparring sessions and withdrew from the fight last weekend.
In stepped Campos, then, his replacement, who boasted a 30-3-5 professional record, was a southpaw, and was seemingly fresher at the age of 25. He was also, however, a serious step down from Soto in pretty much every other department. He lacked Soto’s experience, for one; he lacked his pedigree and world title wins; he also lacked his durability. In fact, the only two times Campos had set foot outside his homeland he had suffered defeat (stopped first by Edgar Puerta in Mexico and then by Ismael Barroso in Costa Rica). This didn’t bode well.
Indeed, the assumption was that Taylor, arguably the best young boxer in Britain, would get to grips with Campos early, dissect his southpaw style, and eventually break him down the way every other decent fighter has broken Campos down. Yet Taylor, a special talent, went one better. He surpassed the results of Puerta and Barroso, noted punchers, and managed to drop Campos twice in round two and then finish the job in the third.
The writing was on the wall the moment the fight began, as Campos, someone who rarely ventures outside Nicaragua (and for good reason), appeared skittish and nervy and was stalked and suffocated by Taylor. He attempted to move, he tried to escape, he even threw the odd punch in response. But Taylor’s composure and combination punching allowed him to close the gap with ease, essentially shutting down Campos’ threat, and it wasn’t long before the home favourite was dictating the pace and taming the ragged import.
In round two, for instance, a chopping Taylor left dropped Campos for the first time. Then, moments later, a second knocked was registered after Campos found himself trapped against the ropes and buzzed by two more left hands.
By round three, enough was enough. Twenty-seven-year-old Taylor, too good and too clever, managed to crack Campos with a decent shot, spin him right around, and consequently leave his opponent in a daze, decked for the third time in the fight.
Frustrated rather than hurt, Campos shook his head, banged his fist against the canvas and then, despite rising to beat the count, suffered the indignity of referee Victor Loughlin waving the bout off following a combination that, according to the replays, didn’t even land.
With the win, Taylor advances to 12-0 (11), while Campos falls to 30-4-5 (18).