Josh Taylor Vs Khongsong to begin LIVE at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+ in the US – Live coverage on BT Sport 1 begins on Saturday at 7.30pm in UK
• Josh Taylor 139.25 lbs vs. Apinun Khongsong 139.5 lbs
(Taylor’s IBF/WBA Jr. Welterweight World Titles — 12 Rounds)
• Charlie Edwards 117.5 lbs vs. Kyle Williams 117.25 lbs
(Bantamweight — 10 Rounds)
• Davey Oliver Joyce 121.25 lbs vs. Ionut Baluta 121.25 lbs
(Joyce’s WBO European Jr. Featherweight title — 10 Rounds)
• George Davey 154.5 lbs vs. Jeff Thomas 155.5 lbs
(Jr. Middleweight — 4 Rounds)
• Eithan James 141.25 lbs vs. Kris Pilkington 141.25 lbs
(Jr. Welterweight— 4 Rounds)
WBA/IBF junior welterweight world champion Josh Taylor will make his return to the ring from BT Sport Studio in London against IBF No 1 contender Apinun Khongsong on Saturday, Sept. 26, live on ESPN+ in the United States and BT Sport in the UK. This will be Taylor’s first fight since signing with MTK Global and Top Rank earlier this year.
Promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and 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, Scotland.
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), from Bangkok, worked his way into mandatory position 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 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.”
“Josh Taylor is on a collision course to a fight for the undisputed title, but he must first get past a very tough Thai fighter in Khongsong,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We are delighted that Josh’s talents will be shown live to ESPN+ and BT Sport viewers, and I expect a spectacular performance come Sept. 26.”
Jamie Conlan, VP 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.”
FORMER WORLD CHAMP EDWARDS HEADS PACKED TAYLOR UNDERCARD
JOSH TAYLOR’S World Super-Lightweight title unification clash against Apinun Khongsong has an undercard in place featuring former WBC World Flyweight champion Charlie Edwards.
Title contests featuring Taylor’s fellow Scot Willy Hutchinson and Irishman Davey Oliver Joyce will also take place on Saturday September 26.
IBF and WBA champion Taylor (16-0, 12KOs) had been due to meet Thai Khongsong (16-0, 13KOs), his IBF mandatory challenger in May, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a delay to his contest against the heavy handed challenger.
The Edinburgh star heads another talent stacked card promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions and Bob Arum for Top Rank, with the return of Edwards a big attraction.
Edwards (15-1, 6 KOs) moves up to bantamweight after relinquishing his world crown and faces Wolverhampton’s Kyle Williams (11-2, 3 KOs) in a non-title ten rounder.
It will be his first fight since a no-contest against Julio Cesar Martinez a year ago and his debut under Hall Of Fame promoter Warren who he joined recently.
The Croydon man said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring. It feels like it’s been a long time coming.
“I have had 12 months out, but I have developed more than I did even when I was a world champion.
“My life away from boxing could not be any better. I am settled in a new home, I have got engaged and in January I will become a Dad.
“I have never been in such a good place mentally, physically and emotionally.
“Obviously I am not world class yet at Bantamweight and that might take time, but Kyle is a very decent opponent after so long out.
“I’m looking forward to putting on a show against a great fighter. This fight is a fantastic domestic clash.
“It would be great to have fans there, but I’ve had similar experiences as an amateur. I once boxed in a 30,000 capacity arena in Azerbaijan with 20 people there at a World Championship qualifier.”
Fast emerging Super-Middleweight Hutchinson (11-0, 7 KOS) will challenge for his first professional title with the vacant IBF European crown on the line, should he come through his bout tomorrow night on the undercard of Daniel Dubois vs Ricardo Snijders.
There will be a third title at stake when Joyce (12-1, 9KOs) makes the first defence of his WBO European Super-Bantamweight crown against Spain’s Ionut Baluta (13-2, 2KOs) over ten rounds.
Mullingar’s Joyce won the title in February when he stopped former IBF World Bantamweight champion Lee Haskins in five rounds.
Warren said: “Josh’s fight is a high end world title battle, and yet again we have delivered with brilliant supporting fights.
“I was very excited to sign Charlie who is a fighter I have always rated and enjoyed watching even when he wasn’t on out cards.
“I promised him that he would get the chance to become a two-weight world champion and this is the start of the journey for him. He is coming back at Bantamweight, but he could also do Super-Flyweight if the opportunity came.
“He has mixed with the best in the world and that is where Willy Hutchinson is heading. I have real faith that he will go all the way at Super-Middleweight and become part of Britain’s rich history in the division.
“Everyone at my office has been working hard and I’m delighted with what we’ve delivered for fans on these behind closed doors shows.”
There will also be a four round Super-Welterweight match between York’s George Davey (2-0) and Blackpool veteran Jeff Thomas (12-7-3, 1 KO). Northampton Super-Lightweight Ethan James (3-0) is also in action.
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