By Kenneth Friedman: The International Boxing Federation has ordered a purse bid for IBF light welterweight champion Josh Taylor’s next mandatory defense against #1 IBF Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) for January 24. The purse bid it to determine which promotional company winds up staging the Taylor vs. Khongsong fight.
The purse bid will take place on the 24th of January at 12 p.m. ET at the IBF’s headquarters, according to Dan Rafael. Taylor, 29, recently signed a multi-fight deal with Top Rank Boxing, and he wants to unify the 140lb division by taking on WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Jose Ramirez later this year.
Taylor targeting Ramirez after Khongsong fight
The unbeaten Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) is also in the same Top Rank stable as Taylor, so making a fight between them will be easy. Taylor has made it clear that he wants to unify the light welterweight division, and then move up to 147 to go after the title holders in that weight class.
In some respects, it would be better for Taylor to vacate his IBF title, and focus on using his next fight in the spring in taking on defending his newly won WBA light welterweight title. Boxing fans would much prefer to see Taylor fight the likes of these fighters than the little known
- Subriel Matias
- Regis Prograis – rematch
- Pablo Cesar Cano
- Lewis Ritson
- Adrien Broner
Taylor obviously wants to win all the belts at 140 so that it gives him bragging rights to say he’s the best fighter in the division before moving up to welterweight. He can achieve the same thing by skipping the Khongsong fight, and going straight to the Ramirez unification match. The fans won’t hold it against him if he gives up his IBF title to take the much bigger fight against Ramirez.
Fans would rather see Taylor either go straight to his fight with Ramirez or give Prograis a rematch. Regis has been vocal this month saying that he wants a rematch with Taylor.
IBF should tweak their ranking system
The IBF is a great organization, but sometimes they have mandatory challengers that aren’t necessarily the best contenders in the weight class. For example, in 2018, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. defended against then IBF mandatory Carlos Ocampo. Spence wiped the little known Ocampo out in 1 round.
Ocampo looked hopelessly outclassed by Spence, and completely unprepared to take on an elite level fighter despite being the IBF mandatory. In 2016, Kell Brook defended his IBF 147-lb title against mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier, and destroyed him in 2 rounds. Bizier hasn’t fought since.
These are just a couple of examples of the IBF having guys that arguably didn’t belong in the mandatory spot challenging for world titles. At heavyweight, IBF champion Anthony Joshua will be defending against 38-year-old mandatory Kubrat Pulev this year. Pulev used to be a good fighter, but he’s older now, and not likely to be any competition for Joshua.
You can argue that the IBF needs to look at ranking better fighters so there’s not as many horrible mismatches like we’ve seen in the past. Moreover, it’s a waste of time for the IBF champions to use up portions of their careers making defenses that bring little value to the boxing public, and does little to increase their popularity. In the case of Josh Taylor, he’s expected to massacre the little known Khongsong when they eventually share the ring with each other in 2020.