Josh Taylor, the WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion, will defend both belts on Sept. 26 against Apinun Khongsong at the BT Sports Studio from London, in a fight that will air on ESPN+.
It will be Taylor’s first outing since his victory over Regis Prograis last October in the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound finals.
“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,” Taylor said. “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.”
Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), who hails from Thailand, is the IBF mandatory challenger. He has scored stoppage victories in his past six fights.
A victory over Khongsong could lead to a full unification bout against Jose Ramirez, who holds the WBC and WBO titles at 140 pounds, later this year or at the beginning of 2021. Ramirez faces WBC mandatory challenger Viktor Postol on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
A Taylor-Ramirez showdown would be one of the most highly anticipated bouts in all of boxing.
“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,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. “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.”