Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt? Exploring why 'The Tartan Tornado' vacated his IBF, WBA, and WBC titles

Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt
Josh Taylor (pictured) once held all four junior welterweight belts and SK explores why he eventually vacated three of them [Image Courtesy: @JoshTaylorBoxer on X]

Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt is a question some fans have wondered and the short answer is yes. The logic behind it actually ties into the history of the blockbuster bout he is lined up for this weekend.

Taylor initially relinquished his hold on gold by dropping his WBA and WBC junior welterweight straps during the second quarter of 2022. In the 'Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt' saga, 'The Tartan Tornado' then gave up his IBF belt at 140 pounds later in the Summer of that year. Taylor did maintain his status as the WBO champion in that weight category though.

Some might have understandably been confused by why he would do this if they were devoid of context. Taylor's goal in eliminating his status as the junior welterweight undisputed world champion was to bypass his mandatory contenders for a high-stakes rematch with WBO mandatory Jack Catterall.

Taylor had a highly controversial fight with Catterall in February 2022. The former secured a split decision win to retain the undisputed crown with many onlookers thinking he should have lost the belts.

Taylor vs Catterall 2 was supposed to transpire in November 2022 and then a March 2023 booking both fell short but the long-awaited rematch will finally go down this weekend.

Check out the final presser faceoff before Taylor vs Catterall 2 below:

Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt: continued

The 33-year-old still maintained his hold on the WBO belt as mentioned but since Catterall was out of the picture, Taylor ended up losing that remaining 140-pound crown against Teofimo Lopez in June 2023.

This is the lone scenario in his four belt arc that the 'Did Josh Taylor vacate his belt' question did not apply. He lost his WBO junior welterweight belt to Lopez via unanimous decision and was out of the picture for the remainder of that calendar year.

Many felt Taylor showcased how determined he was for the Catterall rematch prior to his Lopez contest by relinquishing the belts and bypassing mandatory challengers to set things right. The relevant mandatories at the time for those 140-pound belts were Ismael Barroso, Jermias Ponce, and Jose Zepeda.

The native of Scotland wants to go 2-0 over Jack Catterall and silence all the naysayers who felt Taylor should not have got the nod in the first fight.

While Josh Taylor went from four belts in their initial outing to zero heading into the rematch on May 25, it is still a massive domestic clash. The United Kingdom is fervently anticipating this fight and we shall see if Taylor can win back-to-back Jack Catterall outings or if the latter combatant can tie up this series at one victory apiece.


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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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