Josh Taylor vs Apinun Khongsong hits London on September 26

WBA Super and IBF 140lbs champion Josh Taylor will make his long-awaited return to the ring against IBF No. 1 contender Apinun Khongsong at the BT Sport Studios in London on September 26.

It will be ‘The Tartan Tornado’s’ first appearance since his triumph in the World Boxing Super Series final last October, where he defeated the previously unbeaten Regis Prograis in an enthralling encounter.

Thailand’s Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) worked his way into the mandatory position by winning the IBF Pan Pacific and IBF Asia titles. He has knocked out his last six foes including former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo in February 2019.

Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) said, “I’m excited to be back in the ring after a long lay-off. 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.”

Jamie Conlan, VP of MTK Global, Taylor’s management company, added, “I am delighted to see the best fighter in the 140-pound division back in action. Josh has used the pandemic to his own advantage, using the lay-off 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 [WBC/WBO champion] Jose Ramirez in the pipeline.”

The fight will be shown live on BT Sport in the UK and ESPN+ in the US.