Taylor breezes past Apinun, edges closer to Ramirez

WBA Super and IBF 140lbs champion Josh Taylor continued his march towards a unification clash with WBC and WBO title-holder Jose Ramirez with an easy one-round win over mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong at York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Saturday night.

Apinun (16-1, 13 KOs) started brightly, menacing with his right hand before an innocuous looking left hook to the body sent the Thai down for the full count near the end of the opening round. He never looked like rising and stayed down for several minutes amid bemusing scenes.

Khongsong (left) looked dangerous early before folding from a body shot.
Photo: Queensberry Promotions.

Despite the odd ending, southpaw Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) can now move forward to a projected unification match with fellow Top Rank fighter Ramirez, who has his own mandatory against WBO No.1 Jack Catterall due. That will be a far tougher night.

Taylor takes a bow while Khongsong still labours from that finishing body blow.
Photo: Queensberry Promotions.

Afterwards, a victorious Taylor looked ahead to that eagerly anticipated clash with Californian rival Ramirez.

“One hundred percent, I want Ramirez next. He’s a very good champion, unbeaten like myself, hungry, on top of his game,” said the Scottish maestro. “I thought the Postol fight, it wasn’t a very good performance at all. I do feel he can perform better than that given the circumstances. Again, I wasn’t impressed with what I’ve seen from him. Again, I want that fight now. I believe I’ll whoop his ass all day long.

“I’ve never seen anything from him that I haven’t seen before, so yeah, I want that fight as soon as possible. Obviously, I know the situation with [Ramirez’s WBO] mandatory [vs Jack Catterall], but hopefully, we can sort of get that worked out. I would like, for selfish and personal reasons, to get that [Ramirez] fight next. I deserve it.

“I’ve been in big fight after big fight for my last four fights. Not ducked anyone. Never ducked a tournament like someone else. I’m game. I’ll fight the best whenever they want. To be honest, I would rather wait until the fans are back for that fight. It’s a huge fight. It’s one of the biggest fights at the minute for all the belts.”

And still….the best 140-pounder on the planet – Josh Taylor.
Photo: Queensberry Promotions.

Former WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards made his Queensberry Promotions debut with a solid, 10-round points win over Kyle Williams (11-3, 3 KOs) in a bantamweight encounter. Referee Bob Williams scored 99-91.

Edwards (16-1, 6 KOs & 1 NC) intends to campaign at super-flyweight in the medium-term. He was too slick for Midlander Williams who had his moments, especially a sustained burst of pressure in the eighth, but struggled with Edwards’ mobility and crisper combinations. 

Romanian dangerman Ionut Baluta ripped up the formbook again with an emphatic three-round win over Ireland’s Davey Oliver Joyce in a super-bantamweight shocker.

The Madrid-based Baluta had upset former IBF 122lbs champion TJ Doheny on the cards in Dubai in March and showed that was no fluke with another eye-rubbing performance.

The fearless Baluta (14-2, 3 KOs) started fast and never let up. His industry paid off in the third as a left hook dropped Joyce flat on his back. Joyce (12-2, 9 KOs) rose but was overwhelmed by the whirlwind-like Baluta before referee Steve Gray intervened.

York super-welter George Davey (2-0, 0 KOs) outscored Lancastrian Jeff Thomas (12-7-3, 1 KO) handily over four rounds. Davey, a protégé of former world title challenger Henry Wharton, won 40-36 on the referee’s card.

Still only 20, Northampton 140lbs hope Eithan James (5-0, 0 KOs) outscored Gateshead’s Kris Pilkington (2-8-1, 0 KOs) in a solid learning fight. Referee Bob Williams 40-36.

Oxford lightweight Jordan Flynn (2-0, 0 KOs) extended his unbeaten record with a comfortable points victory over Stockport’s seasoned Jamie Quinn (7-105-2 & I NC). The score was 60-54.

Main image: Queensberry Promotions.