Josh Taylor has no worries about fighting behind closed doors

Scot won't allow Covid-19 to derail is title ambition

By Jack Nightingale
Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 7:00 am
Josh Taylor will face Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong a week this Saturday in London
Josh Taylor will face Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong a week this Saturday in London

Josh Taylor has no concerns about fighting behind closed doors after getting a flavour of what to expect in his latest world title defence.

The WBA and IBF super-lightweight champion is putting both belts on the line against Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong, the mandatory challenger for the latter title.

The fight was initially scheduled for Glasgow’s 13,000-capacity Hydro in May before being postponed amid the pandemic and rescheduled for September 26 in London.

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Taylor watched Anthony Yarde beat Dec Spelman in a light-heavyweight contest screened by BT Sport at York Hall on Saturday to get an idea of what awaits him when his show is hosted by the same broadcaster a fortnight later.

Speaking on the website of management company MTK Global, Taylor said: “This is what I live for. 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 and keep hold of my belts, and then we’ll move on to bigger and better things.

“I was at the show on Saturday and thought it would be quite weird but it’s still impressive.

“It’s got the razzle dazzle with the big screen and the lights, so it’s still got that fight night feel. That’s the last box ticked off that I was concerned about, so there are no worries now.”

Taylor has got a new trainer in Ben Davison since splitting with Shane McGuigan following his thrilling World Boxing Super Series win over Regis Prograis in October.

And the Scot is confident he will take care of the similarly unbeaten Khongsong as he eyes a huge unification fight with WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez.

The Prestonpans fighter said: “The time me and Ben have spent together has been brilliant. We’re on the same page and have been flying in the gym.

“Khongsong is a good fighter who punches right through the target and has power in both hands, but we’ve studied him a lot and we think we can expose things on fight night.”

Davison added: “It was good to go to the venue and get an idea of what to expect. This isn’t going to be a fight where Josh needed the backing of the crowd, as we want him to have a smart approach.”