Josh Taylor vs. Apinun Khongsong finalized for May 2
By Charles Brun: IBF/WBA light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) have their mandated fight finalized for May 2, and it’ll be taking place at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. [according to @MikeCoppinger]. The fight will be shown on ESPN in the U.S.
It’s a pity that the boxing public will need to wait 7 months to see Taylor fight since his last match.
This will be a home fight for the 2012 Olympian Taylor, who will be fighting for the first time since defeating WBA 140-lb champion Regis Prograis to capture the Ali Trophy in winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament on October 26 in a close fight.
Taylor, 29, recently signed with Top Rank Boxing in the States, and they’ll be showing him to U.S fans on the ESPN platform for the first fight of his new contract. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has big plans for the 5’10” Taylor if he can get past his IBF mandatory Khongsong on May 2.
Arum wants to put Taylor in a unification fight against WBC/WBO light-welterweight champion Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) this year. The winner of that fight could face WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, in 2021. That’ll be a great fight.
Ramirez will be facing his WBC mandatory a week later against Viktor Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) on May 9 on ESPN in Fresno, California. By Top Rank staging the Ramirez and Postol fights so close together, it’ll make it easier to schedule their unification match later this year for the undisputed 140-lb championship.
The winner of the Ramirez-Taylor fight, if it happens, would hold all 4 titles at light-welterweight. Crawford was the last fighter to accomplish that feat. The skies the limit for the Ramirez vs. Taylor winner.
Crawford is someone that Arum has been trying to turn into a star for years, but with no luck due to the inability to put him in with the bigger names at 140 and 147. However, now that Arum has signed Taylor, he could potentially face Crawford next year, as long as he beats the little known Khongsong. and then Ramirez.
One negative about Top Rank having Taylor face Khongsong on May 2 is it could run up against the heavyweight clash between WBC interim champion Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. That fight, which is the headliner on a Matchroom card, will be taking place on April 25 or May 2.
It won’t be a problem for Taylor-Khongsong, as long it’s staged on the 25th of April. But of Whyte-Povetkin takes place on May 2, then there’s going to be some problems. Whyte vs. Povetkin will be shown on Sky Box Office PPV on the night.
You can imagine the lost pay-per-view buys for that fight card if it has the Taylor vs. Khongsong, contest. That’s not a great fight obviously, but it doesn’t need to be in order to siphon viewers away from the Whyte-Povetkin fight. Taylor is pretty popular right now following his win over the previously unbeaten Prograis in the WBSS final last October.
It looks like Taylor will only fight twice in 2020 rather than 3 or 4 times. Taylor fought twice last year in beating Ivan Baranchyk in the WBSS tournament. If not or the tourney, he likely would have fought 3 times.
Khongsong, 23, is an odd pick to be the IBF mandatory. His career-best win is arguably a fifth-round stoppage over Akihiro Kondo last year in February 2019. Other than that win, Khongsong has been fighting nothing but little known opposition with poor records.
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) February 11, 2020
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