Josh Taylor will defend his WBA and IBF Super-Lightweight world titles against Apinun Khongsong at BT Sport studio on September 26.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) was scheduled to meet his IBF mandatory, Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in Glasgow on May 2, but the fight was postponed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but he’ll now face the undefeated Thai in a bill promoted by Queensberry Promotions and Top Rank.
The unbeaten Scot has been out of the ring since his thrilling World Boxing Super Series final victory over Regis Prograis at the O2 last October, where he added the WBA belt to his already acquired IBF title.
“I’m excited to be back in the ring after a long layoff,” Taylor said.
“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.”
Taylor is closing in on an undisputed clash with unified WBC and WBO titlist Jose Ramirez, who faces Viktor Postol on Saturday inside the Top Rank Bubble in Las Vegas.
However, Khongsong has stopped his last six opponents and promoter Bob Arum has warned against underestimating the task on his Top Rank debut, after inking a promotional deal in January.
“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 CEO 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.”
As well as fighting under the Top Rank banner for the first time, Taylor will have new trainer Ben Davison in his corner, after parting company with Shane McGuigan and the backing of management team, MTK Global.
“Delighted to see the best fighter in the 140 pound division back in action,” Jamie Conlan, Vice President of MTK Global said.
“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.”
Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren expressed his delight at hosting the unified champion and believes a fight with WBO mandatory, Jack Catterall remains a possibility for Taylor down the line.
“Josh is a world class operator and I am delighted that we are playing host to what is an important mandatory defence,” Frank Warren said.
“Josh is doubtless set for many big nights over in the States but he has got business to attend to here first and we are backing him to win, not least because a huge fight with our own Jack Catterall is there to be made a little further down the line.
“We have successfully played our part in bringing boxing back for the fans on TV and I said all along that we would be upping the levels as we go along and that is what we are doing here.
“I am thrilled we have secured Josh to perform on the BT Sport platform.”
Undercard details will follow in due course.