A dreaded date clash occurred in the UK on this day in 2019, as Josh Taylor took on Ivan Baranchyk for the IBF super lightweight title in Glasgow as a semi final of the World Boxing Super Series, on the same night that Billy Joe Saunders took on Shefat Isufi at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage for the vacant WBO super middleweight title.
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Ivan Baranchyk had won the IBF title in the quarter final of the World Boxing Super Series when he defeated Anthony Yigit. Taylor blitzed his way through Ryan Martin in the quarter finals, setting up this mouth-watering clash as a semi-final between two unbeaten fighters.
Controversy was apparent the day before fight night in Glasgow, as Taylor failed to make weight at the initial weigh in, however, was within the limit on second attempt.
The fight was fought at a furious pace, as Taylor had a raucous crowd cheering him from the first bell. Taylor showed his class and scored a heavy knockdown in round six. Taylor smelt blood and tried to close the show, and managed another knockdown, but Baranchyk survived, and too Taylor the full 12 rounds.
The scorecards read 111-115, 109-107 and 111-115, all in favour of Taylor, sparking jubilant celebrations in Glasgow, as Taylor lifted his first world title.
A notable fight on the undercard in Scotland was the semi final of the bantamweight version of the World Boxing Super Series between WBA champion Naoya Inoue and IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. Inoue showed the UK crowd why he was being touted as a pound for pound star as he unified the IBF and WBA titles with a brutal second round knockout of Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage was hosting its first ever boxing event, as it played host to the redemption story of Billy Joe Saunders, as he clashed with Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO super middleweight title.
In November 2018, Saunders was stripped of his WBO middleweight title following allegations made regarding him which lead to him being withdrawn from his scheduled bout with Demetrius Andrade. Saunders had one fight after that, but it was at light heavyweight as it was considered a keep busy fight against Charles Adamu.
Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren had managed to get him a fight with WBO ranked #1 Shefat Isufi. Gilberto Ramirez had just vacated the WBO belt and it was placed on the line in the bout between Saunders and Isufi.
Saunders showed his class as he rolled back the years against Isufi. Isufi did find success in the bout, even causing Saunders legs to stiffen in the sixth round, but it wasn’t enough to keep Saunders at bay, as after 12 rounds, the scorecards read 117-111, 118-110 and 120-108 declaring Saunders a two weight world champion.
The undercard saw Olympic silverr medalist Joe Joyce impress on his first fight under Frank Warren’s promotional banner as he bludgeoned the expeerience Aleksandr Ustinov in just three rounds.
Another notable fight on the card was a fight of the year contender which saw Brad Foster unify the British and Commonwealth super bantamweight titles as he defeated Ashley Lane by knockout in the 12th round.