August 17, 2001 – By Paul Upham: Julian Holland is the new Commonwealth and WBO Asia Pacific champion after defeating Shannan Taylor by seventh round TKO in a stunning upset at the Octagon, Randwick Racecourse in Sydney on Friday night.
The defending Australian title-holder recovered from a third round knockdown and bad cut on his right eye to beat Taylor, 29-2-1 (19), who was leading on two judges scorecards and even on the third card after six completed rounds.
Taylor was shaken early in the seventh round by a booming Holland, 26-2-1 (16), right hand, which connected directly on Taylor’s chin. The “Blaster” was knocked back into the ropes where he showed tremendous determination and heart not to hit the canvas.
As they tangled in a clinch with Taylor hanging on, both fighters fell to the canvas with referee John Wright not ruling any knockdown. Taylor was up on his feet first and appeared to be OK until the fight resumed and Holland attacked him with a two fisted barrage. Holland’s punches saw him stagger back into the ropes and Taylor was covering up with both hands as Holland tried to finish him off landing with strong lefts and rights.
The referee stepped in and waved the fight off at the 1:17 minute mark, ruling Taylor unable to defend himself although he had not been knocked to the canvas.
“First of all, I want to thank Shannan Taylor, he is every bit of a champion,” said Holland. “He can fight and he can punch, but I’ve trained hard for a long time for this fight. I just weathered the storm early and caught him with a good shot, that’s the way boxing goes.”
Taylor was very bitter about the stoppage claiming that he was not hurt when the referee stepped in. “It was a great fight and I was winning the fight. I never hit the ground, I can’t believe it was stopped,” said Taylor. “This fight was for the Commonwealth title and I honestly was not hurt.”
Earlier, Taylor had started strongly in the first round, landing well with his jab and left hook to the body whilst looking to land his right hand at every opportunity. Holland started cautiously as he tried to withstand Taylor’s early onslaught, using his jab and movement well.
There was a slight trickle of blood from Taylor’s nose during the third round, but that did not stop him from flooring Holland with a clubbing right hand just prior to the bell at the end of the round. Holland regained his feet and took an eight count before being sent back to his corner.
Taylor really opened up in the fourth round trying to finish off Holland, who showed good boxing skills to keep his opponent at bay. An accidental clash of heads, which was missed by the referee in the sixth round, saw a very bad cut open up above Holland’s right eye. After inspection by the ringside doctor, the fight was allowed to continue with blood running down the side of Holland’s face.
Like a shark in a feeding frenzy, Taylor stepped up another gear and charged Holland at every opportunity throwing his left hook straight at the cut which was well attended to by Holland’s corner at the end of the round.
The straight right hand that stunned the “Blaster” back onto the ropes was landed as Taylor was opening up trying to finish Holland off. However, instead of Holland ending up on the canvas, it was the beginning of the end for the “Blaster” in more ways than one as he immediately announced his retirement in the ring after the fight.
“I retire. I am retiring. I’m getting out of the boxing game. I’ve got other things that I want to do. I just hope that I did Australia proud throughout and that the people enjoyed my career,” he said.
If this is the end for Taylor, it has been a magnificent one where he fell only one small step short of his world title dream against the very best in the world, Sugar Shane Mosley. He has invested his earnings well and will live a comfortable life with a thriving gymnasium business to run. A man of great passion, his ultimate dream was not about future riches in the USA, but to be called world champion, the best of the best.
Only 29 years of age, Taylor is still at the top of his game and was leading on SecondsOut.com’s card 58-55 after six rounds. If he reconsiders and decides to carry on, there is no shame in tonight’s defeat suffered to a man who climbed off the canvas and came from behind to win.
The future is bright for Holland known as the “Fighting Farrier”, with the Australian, Commonwealth and WBO Asia Pacific belts around his waist. Holland showed his boxing skills ands tenacity tonight and it was his night to shine after campaigning in obscurity for so long.
“It was a great show and I was surprised at the support I got up here in Sydney,” said Holland, who fights out of Melbourne, in his dressing room after the fight
“I knew it was going to be hard early. I expected everything that I got. The punch that put me down, I was hit on the top of the head and I fell over. I was OK, it was more of a slip, but I knew that I had to get over that. I was letting him go first and then I started to let my punches go and that’s when I started to catch him.”
Was the right hand in the seventh round that caught Taylor, the best Holland’s ever thrown? “I’d say so, I got three belts for it,” laughed Holland.
“He was hurt. I think he was hurt. I was just landing and it was only a matter of time before I got another big one on him and put him away. He didn’t retaliate so the referee stepped in.”