Josh Taylor is expecting to defend his WBA and IBF 140-pound titles against IBF mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong in May, probably in Glasgow, after a weird run of events setting up the fight.
Edinburgh’s Taylor (16-0, 12 KO) unified the two belts and won the World Boxing Super Series tournament in October, beating Regis Prograis in a terrific fight that lived up to all its hype and showed both men to be the fighters we believed them to be.
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KO), from Thailand, won an eliminator about a year ago against Akihiro Kondo at Japan’s Korakuen Hall, knocking Kondo out in the fifth round.
Following the WBSS, Taylor signed with Top Rank, and though there was some early concern that his former team at Cyclone Promotions might have him sidelined in litigation, it appears things will move forward for his in-ring career. The IBF officially ordered him to face Khongsong, and when the fight went to purse bid, Sampson Lewkowicz was the winning bidder, a surprise to pretty much everyone.
Then Sampson Boxing defaulted on the bid, and the rights went to Top Rank.
Taylor leaving Cyclone Promotions means he’ll no longer be working with trainer Shane McGuigan, whose father Barry is the face of Cyclone. So he’ll have a new trainer for the fight with Khongsong, before looking to set up a full unification of the 140-pound division against WBC/WBO titleholder Jose Ramirez, also a Top Rank fighter, later this year.
Adam Booth and Ben Davison are considered the most likely names to step in for McGuigan, but Taylor isn’t ruling out training with a top American name, either.