Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Jonathan Taylor wins NZ and Oceania titles

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CHAMPION: Jonathan Taylor celebrates winning the IBO Oceania and NZPA super middleweight titles in Auckland on Saturday night. PHOTO: Supplied
CHAMPION: Jonathan Taylor celebrates winning the IBO Oceania and NZPA super middleweight titles in Auckland on Saturday night. PHOTO: Supplied

"It was fireworks and bombs all the way."

TV 3 boxing commentator Mike Angove got it just right in describing the epic fight between Tauranga's Jonathan Taylor and Jordan Tai in Auckland on Saturday night.

Taylor, 30, pulled off a stunning upset victory over hot favourite Tai to claim the IBO Oceania and NZPA super middleweight titles.

Referee Lance Revill stopped the fight 2.53 seconds into the seventh round after Taylor hit Tai with a thunderous right hook at a time in the fight when Tai was firmly in charge.

Anyone who has seen Taylor fight knew he had the most powerful physique in the division and knockout power in both gloves.

Tai knew that but the 33-year-old former world kickboxing champ did not see the big right hand smash into his jaw just five seconds into the opening round.

Tai showed why he was so hard to knock out in his previous career as somehow he hung on but Taylor lost composure and most of his energy trying to finish the fight right there and then.

Tai took control of the fight and in round five knocked Taylor to the canvas with a pristine left hook with seven seconds left with the bell coming at the right time for Taylor.

In round six he was rocked by another lethal combination from the durable Tai, who was well in front as the spectacular bout entered the final four championship rounds.

Taylor softened him up with a stunning left hook and then came the huge right hook that sent Tai spinning backwards onto the ropes. After copping another barrage of blows, in stepped Revill to end it.

Both fighters spoke remarkably well on live television considering the battering they gave each other.

Taylor was nearly submerged in the two massive belts he won.

Winning them was what he has always wanted, he said.

"It feels fantastic. Right now this is my end goal so now I have to sit down and work out where to go from here.

"I couldn't have done it without my coach Chris Walker. His belief in me has got me this far and thanks to the team at TGABox and my sparring partners Gunnar Jackson and Anthony TNT Taylor.

"I have much respect for Jordan Tai. Man he is a hell of a fighter. The toughest fuller I know. I knew it wouldn't take one punch, it would take multiple punches over a long period of time."

When asked what he thought when referee Revill stopped the fight he said "thank God it's over".

"He is a hard man. I didn't want to go too many more rounds with that fuller."

Tai knew Taylor had a lethal knockout punch.

"He caught me early in the first round and I recovered and came back. That's boxing. Anything happens," Tai said.

"I was just getting warmed up but then got caught again and that was that."

After a promising amateur career, Taylor left Tauranga for Australia and faded from the scene for most of the last decade.

But he is well and truly a contender now and with his explosive power may well attract the attention of US and European promoters.

Certainly bigger pay days are not far away.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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