Josh Taylor puts his WBA and IBF super lightweight belts on the line against Apinun Khongsong on Saturday, September 26. Will Taylor remain unbeaten and keep his titles?
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Road To Josh Taylor v Apinun Khongsong
Unified super lightweight champion Josh Taylor returns to the ring on Saturday, September 26 against his IBF mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong at the BT Sports Studio in London. These two should have met in Glasgow in May, but the contest was postponed due to the recent pandemic. Taylor became the IBF champion back in May 2019 when he defeated Ivan Baranchyk during the World Boxing Super Series. After beating the Belarus fighter, the Tartan Tornado then retained his title and added the WBA belt and the vacant Ring title with a majority decision win over Regis Prograis in the WBSS Final at the O2 Arena. This will be Taylor’s first fight since become the double champion and he takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Khongsong for all the gold. The Thai boxer is unbeaten after 16 professional bouts with 13 coming by way of knockout. He gets this opportunity as mandatory challenger after winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. This will be a tough test for Taylor, as Khongsong has won his last six fights by way of knockout – including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo.
Josh Taylor v Apinun Khongsong Predictions & Tips
On paper, this is one of Taylor’s toughest fights since turning professional in 2015, but further examination shows that Khongsong has not been in the ring with anyone as talented and powerful as Taylor. Both these fighters pride themselves on knocking their opponents out, but Taylor has also shown he can dig deep and go the distance. Both his title wins have come on points, and his performance against Prograis was both brutal and brilliant. As good as Khongsong has been in his recent fights, he will not pose the same kind of threat Prograis did. Both fighters spilled blood in that contest and Taylor showed he had the heart to make it in this sport, not sure Khongsong will have the fight to take this into the later rounds. I’m going for the Scottish fighter to end this one in the fifth round. A dominant performance from Taylor will probably see him go up against WBC and WBO champion Jose Ramirez as they both attempt to unify the whole division.
Josh Taylor v Apinun Khongsong Preview: Fighter Predictions
Josh Taylor: “I’m excited to be back in the ring after a long layoff. The coronavirus had put everything on hold for a few months, so it’s been nice to be in the gym again and back to some normality. I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line. Training has been going well and I’m feeling fit and strong. I’ve watched a fair bit of my opponent and I’ve seen his strengths and weaknesses, and I’m very confident going into this fight. I can’t wait.”
Jamie Conlan, VP of MTK Global, (Taylor’s management company): “I am delighted to see the best fighter in the 140-pound division back in action. Josh has used the pandemic to his own advantage, using the layoff to spend more time with his new coach, Ben Davison, and building a relationship together. Khongsong provides a real tough test as he’s the mandatory for a reason, undefeated and a big puncher. Josh really needs to be on his game to keep the big fight with Jose Ramirez in the pipeline.”