WBA and IBF junior welterweight champion Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor 16-0 (12) doesn’t believe fighting without a crowd will affect his performance against Apinun Khongsong 16-0 (13) when the two meet at BT Sports Studios in London on Saturday night.
“I don’t think not having a crowd will affect my performance at all,” Taylor said. “I’ve been practicing in the gym with no music, no noise and nobody speaking, so we have been replicating what the experience will be like.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there on Saturday and I have kept fit and in shape throughout the year. I can’t wait to put on a strong performance.
“You will see on Saturday what changes I have made working with Ben (Davison) and I am not going to give away what we have been working on.
“It is good and we’ve been working on a lot of things and this is a nice start to a whole new book. This is the start of it, it is going to be better than the last one and I can’t wait to get going on Saturday.”
The 29-year-old Scottish southpaw will need to get past hard-hitting Thai Khongsong to keep his hopes alive of a four-belt unification bout with WBC and WBO 140-pound champion Jose Carlos Ramirez 26-0 (17).
“Khongsong is standing in the way of where I want to go so I need to get rid of him,” Taylor said.
“This is his introduction to world boxing and I am going to make it a painful one for him. He doesn’t belong at this level and I am a couple of levels above him. I am going to go in there and knock him out on Saturday.
“I have seen a lot I can exploit. He is a very good fighter and very strong, punches with both hands with power, but it is not enough to beat me.
“I am just really looking forward to getting in there on Saturday and putting on a strong performance.”
IBF mandatory challenger Khongsong, 24, is also promising to win by knockout.
“I am happy to fight here and being behind closed doors is good for me because there will be no people and boxing fans,” Khongsong said.
“I am very proud to fight Josh Taylor because he is a very good champion. I have prepared very well to fight him on Saturday. The plan is to stop Josh Taylor by knockout.”
Earlier this week Taylor said the time between fights has only allowed him to get to know new coach Ben Davison better.
“It was probably my first real break from boxing since I turned pro five years ago and it’s just been fight after fight and just grinding it out in training all the time,” Taylor told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I’ve been relaxing and switching off from boxing, and it was a pretty good time to sit and reflect on what I’ve achieved in the sport in such a short space of time, and have a bit of pride in what I’ve done.
“I was able to have a little bit more time with Ben and get to know him.
“We clicked straight away and I think this chapter in my career is going to be even better than my first one.”
Taylor has a breakout year in 2019, winning the World Boxing Super Series with a majority decision win over previously undefeated American Regis Prograis at London’s O2 Arena last October. En route to lifting the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy he claimed the scalps of Ryan Martin and Ivan Baranchyk.
Khongsong has fought outside of his native Thailand just once when he travelled to Japan to knockout Akihiro Kondo in five rounds in February last year.
He was last in action 14 months ago when he knocked out journeyman Yosmar Kefi in two frames.