Apinun Khongsong has been confirmed as WBA and IBF junior welterweight world champion Josh Taylor’s next opponent.
WBA and IBF junior welterweight world champion Josh Taylor will fight IBF No. 1 contender Apinun Khongsong on Saturday 26 September.
Top Rank confirmed the fight for their fighter, who signed with the organisation and MTK Global earlier in the year, with ESPN+ and BT Sport claiming the U.S. and U.K. rights, respectively.
It will be Taylor’s first fight since he won the World Boxing Super Series in London, where he defeated Regis Prograis. The victory added the WBA title to his IBF championship.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) became world champion at the series with a win over Ivan Baranchyk in Glasgow, Scotland.
His next opponent, Thailand’s Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), hails from Bangkok, and earned his mandatory challenge by winning both the IBF Pan Pacific and Asia titles, and each of his last six wins came via knockout.
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.”
Top Rank chairman 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 tough Thai fighter in Khongsong.
“We are delighted that Josh’s talents will be shown live to ESPN+ and BT Sport viewers, and I expect a spectacular performance come September 26.”
Jamie Conlan of MTK Global 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.”