Fresh off his triumph in the World Boxing Super Series tournament last year, unified junior welterweight titleholder Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) will make his 2020 debut against unbeaten Apinun Khongsong, also 16-0 (13 KOs), on Saturday May 2, in Glasgow, Scotland.
The event will be promoted by Frank Warren for Queensberry Promotions in association with Top Rank, who recently announced a new co-promotional deal with Taylor. It will mark his first appearance in the ring since defeating the previously unbeaten Regis Prograis in the WBSS final, in which he added the American’s WBA title to his own IBF version, while also claiming the WBSS trophy and The Ring title. Further, it marks Taylor’s return to the SSE Hydro in his native Scotland, where he defeated Ivan Baranchyk to claim the IBF title during the semifinal round of the WBSS.
“I am super excited to kick start the new year with a fresh start and with a new team.” Taylor said. “It’s great to have the teams at MTK Global, Queensberry Promotions and Top Rank in my corner and I’m delighted to be fighting on BT Sport and ESPN+ and even more so that this is happening in Scotland in front of a home crowd who have waited so long for this! I can’t wait to get the ball rolling with a great performance.”
Khongsong, of Bangkok, Thailand, won an IBF eliminator last February in Japan, knocking out Akihiro Kondo in five rounds.
Promoter Frank Warren is excited to bring Taylor’s first unified title defense back to where it all started. “I am delighted that we are able to be part of bringing Josh Taylor to Glasgow at such an important juncture in his career,” he said. “Josh is destined for many big fights over in the States but he has got business to attend to first on the home front and this presents an opportunity for the Scottish fans to really get behind their man in huge world title action.”
“Josh Taylor is a truly special fighter who is set on becoming the undisputed 140-pound champion in 2020, added Top Rank chief Bob Arum. “I have no doubt he will put on a sensational performance for his home fans. I can’t wait for ‘The Tartan Tornado’ to return.”
MTK Global’s CEO Sandra Vaughan said: “We’re delighted to be working with BT Sport and ESPN+ to put on a show of this magnitude in Scotland with an incredible talent, Josh Taylor. Josh is a true ambassador for Scottish boxing and we are thrilled to be working with him, and the teams at Queensberry Promotions and Top Rank to make this happen.”
Should things go well for Josh Taylor on May 2 in Glasgow, it could pave the way to a showdown with American Jose Carlos Ramirez later in the year. Ramirez, who holds the WBC and WBO 140-pound titles, is set to face veteran Viktor Postol on May 9. Top Rank represents both Taylor and Ramirez, so if they take care of business in the spring, a battle for the undisputed crown in the fall should be easy to put together.