Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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Taylor claims first-round knockout win


Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor celebrates as Apinun Khongsong fails to rise during the first-round count

World champion Josh Taylor knocked out Apinun Khongsong in an incredible first round to defend his WBA and IBF light welterweight titles.

The Scot, 29, struck the Thailand fighter with a left-hand body shot to send the undefeated 24-year-old crumpling on to the canvas.

Khongsong was taken from the York Hall ringside in London on a stretcher.

The Scot now moves closer to a world unification fight with WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez.

“I felt it [the punch] sinking in straight away,” Taylor told BT Sport.

“I didn’t know it had hurt him to that extent until I saw him on the floor.

“He [Khongsong] was the heaviest puncher I have ever been in with. I could feel the weight of his power. That switched me on to take my time and be patient.

“It was a great shot but I’d like to have shown what we’ve been working on in the gym. But you don’t get paid overtime. I can go and get a pint and a pizza.”

It took just two minutes and 41 seconds for the contest to be over, with Taylor’s fierce hook to the gut the first real blow landed by the Prestonpans fighter.

Instead, it was the largely unknown but undefeated challenger who started on the front foot.

Both men came into the bout unscathed after 16 fights, with Khongsong – 13 knockouts to his name – fighting outside of Asia for the first time. With no partisan crowd there to cheer on Taylor, there was an air of the unknown as what challenge he would face.

The early exchanges suggested it may be a tricky one. Khongsong appeared lively, with Taylor forced to be patient as his opponent attempted to take the initiative. However, it did not take long for the world champion’s moment to arrive.

With his opponent against the ropes and his guard high and a right hook missing its target, the Scot swung a thudding blow to the ribs. There was little delay as Khongsong slid to the floor.

There was little response from him as he writhed on the deck during the count, Taylor standing in the opposite corner, arms stretched out.

And as he should. His dream fight is now almost within touching distance. Ramirez, and a truly iconic contest, is within touching distance.

“I want Jose Ramirez next, 100%,” he added. “He’s a very good champion, hungry like myself, on the top of his game. I want that fight now; I feel I’ve got the beating of him.

“I’ve never ducked anyone, but to be honest I would rather wait until the fans are back, a fight of that magnitude would be better in front of a crowd.”

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