By Sam Beresford
WBA welterweight champion Josh Taylor makes his return this weekend on BT Sport, as he faces Thai mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong. After eleven months out of the ring, this fight comes with great anticipation to see how much the Scot has progressed since his decision victory over Regis Prograis, in the final of the World Boxing Super Series. Khongsong is little known to many boxing fans, although will be no pushover as his unbeaten record suggests. This will be only his second time fighting outside of Thailand, with the only other culminating in a shock knockout victory over Akihiro Konda in Japan.
This will also be the first time Taylor has fought without promoter Barry McGuigan, after signing with Top Rank earlier this year. Ben Davison also now sits in the corner of Taylor after also parting ways with Shane McGuigan. The bout holds even more magnitude when you consider that a win likely sets up a highly anticipated clash and unification with Jose Ramirez early next year.
Taylor spoke to Boxing Scene about how motivating the prospect of a bigger fight is: "The big nights and the big stage is what I dreamed of and there is no way I’ll let the pandemic and no crowd let it slip and have an impact on my performance. I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands and keep hold of my belts, and then we’ll move onto bigger and better things.”
The co-main event of the evening features Charlie Edwards as he fights at bantamweight for the first time when he faces off against Kyle Williams. For the Croydon-born fighter, it is his first fight under Queensbury Promotions and Frank Warren after making the decision to leave Matchroom in May. Williams is also making his return after losing his WBO European bantamweight title fight to Ionut Baluta last October and it is evident that he has struggled when facing top opposition.
When you listen to Edwards speak, there is clearly new-found confidence to him. This was especially evident when he said to Bad Left Hook: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. I have had 12 months out, but I have developed more than I did even when I was a world champion. My life away from boxing could not be any better.”
Joining Josh Taylor on this card, is fellow Scottish fighter, Davey Oliver Joyce. The incredible amateur will be defending his WBO European junior featherweight belt. After losing to Nottingham-born fighter Leigh Wood last year, he is looking to get his career back on track and hit the high ceiling which many pundits have given him.
Exciting unbeaten talent Willy Hutchinson will also feature on the card. This will be already his third fight of 2020 and comes after an impressive victory in August. His opponent for the evening has yet to be named, but it will be for the vacant IBF European super-middleweight title.