WBA and IBF junior-welterweight world champion Josh Taylor will make his return to the ring for his mandatory defence of his IBF title against the unbeaten Thai Apinun Khongsong on Saturday Sept. 26, live on BT Sport and ESPN+ in the United States. This will be Taylor’s first fight since singing with MTK Global and Top Rank earlier this year.
Promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions and Bob Arum for Top Rank, “The Tartan Tornado” will make his first appearance in the ring since his triumph in the World Boxing Super Series in London, where he defeated the previously unbeaten Regis Prograis to add the American’s WBA title to his own IBF version, while also claiming the WBSS trophy and the coveted Ring Magazine belt.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) became world champion during the series when he defeated the then-unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk via unanimous decision in Glasgow.
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), from Bangkok, worked his way into mandatory by winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. He has knocked out his last six foes, including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo last February.
Taylor said: “I’m excited to be back in the ring after a long lay-off. 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.”
Frank Warren said of delivering Taylor’s defence of multiple belts to BT Sport viewers: “Josh is a world class operator and I am delighted that we are playing host to what is an important mandatory defence.
“Josh is doubtless set for many big nights over in the States but he has got business to attend to here first and we are backing him to win, not least because a huge fight with our own Jack Catterall is there to be made a little further down the line.
“We have successfully played our part in bringing boxing back for the fans on TV and I said all along that we would be upping the levels as we go along and that is what we are doing here. I am thrilled we have secured Josh to perform on the BT Sport platform.”
Top Rank founder Bob Arum said: “Josh Taylor is on a collision course to a fight for the undisputed title, but he must first get past a very tought Thai fighter in Khongsong. We are delighted that Josh’s talents will be streamed live to ESPN+ viewers, and I expect a spectactular performance come Sept. 26.”
Jamie Conlan, Vice President of MTK Global, Taylor’s management company said: “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.”
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