Job done ‘easy peesy’
World champion Josh Taylor thought he was in for a tough night. All of the signs were he was, certainly in the pre-fight stats and pundit predictions, and even in the early exchanges. The mandatory challenger to Taylor’s IBF world 10st title Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong entered the ring undefeated with a 81% knockout record and clearly looking confident and in shape.
Within the opening 20 seconds the challenger finished an exchange with a straight right hand that immediately got Taylor’s respect and emphasized the imminent danger ahead. The Scot carefully reverted to boxing out of his southpaw stance, with a look of intense concentration on his face.
A minute or so later after another torrid exchange the Thai again finished off with strong right hand that Taylor undoubtedly felt, the danger signs were clear….the Thai could bang.
Then, just as the fight was beginning to warm up another exchange pushed the Thai back onto the ropes and to the shock of the few at ringside and millions watching on BT Sport the Thai was on the canvas, writhing in agony and gasping for breath. Replays showed Taylor had landed a perfectly timed and placed left hook to Khongsong’s ribcage. “The punch sank in, I felt it right away….I knew it was a real good shot” Taylor would go onto say in the post-fight BT Sport interview.
Asked on the power of this opponent, the champion responded “I could go as far to say, that’s the heaviest puncher I’ve been in with, I knew he was heavy handed”.
Therefore, to the relief of him, his camp and new promoters Bob Arum’s Top Rank, getting his opponent out in 2:41 of the opening round was ‘manna from heaven’. In doing so, the Prestonpans southpaw solidifies his undefeated (17-0, 13 KO’s) record and sets up a mouthwatering prospect of a unification fight with WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez (also undefeated). “I want Ramirez 100%. I believe I will whip his ass, all day long” the Scot would say.
It was short, but a perfect nights work for Taylor and will resonate around the world and through the division. The ‘Tartan Tornado’, if we ever doubted it, is the ‘real deal’. This was mighty impressive and he didn’t really break sweat.
Less said about the IBF’s world rankings the better, but Khongsong despite his impressive resume was simply not up to the task. Or maybe, he just got caught by the perfect shot of an elite fighter. The challenges ahead will undoubtedly be tougher and we will see whether Taylor can fulfil his massive potential. At the moment the world is his oyster.
Briedis king of the cruisers
In an excellent match Mairis Briedis became the undisputed world cruiserweight champion and winner of the World Boxing Super Series and with it the Muhammad Ali Trophy and Ring magazine championship by outpointing US based Cuban Yuniel Dorticos in Munich, Germany. The judges returned scores of 117-111, 114-114, 117-111 in the Latvian’s favour.
In a fight intensely fought, but with no knockdowns it was a richly deserved victory. The drawn card was way off the mark and Briedis although not forcing the action, fought well off the backfoot and landed the heavier blows throughout. Dorticos forced the pace, holding the centre of the ring through most of the fight but was ineffective going forward. His inferior conditioning and languid style resulted in him looking to run out of gas in the championship rounds.
Briedis (27-1, 19 KO’s) is now the elite man at 200lbs and after a lengthy career winning several ‘world’ sanctioning body titles it is possible that at 35 his motivation may now be tempered. A move up to heavyweight, similar to his conquerer in WBSS Series One (Olexandr Usyk) may be possible, although unlikely, but he would be a welcome addition to an already talent-stacked division.
Charlo Twins remain top dogs
To complete an action packed weekend the Charlo twins (Jermall at middleweight and Jermell at light-middleweight) turned in excellent performances to win their respective fights in Connecticut, USA.
Both had impressive victories with the heavier Jermall (31-0, 22 KO’s) defeating Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko unanimously on points to defend his WBC middleweight title, and Jermell (34-1, 18 KO’s) unifying the light-middleweight title with an eighth round stoppage win over former IBF/WBA champion Jeison Rosario. In doing so, Jermell retained his WBC title and also won the Ring magazine championship.
Finally, also on the London card former WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards won in his comeback bout at bantamweight with a unanimous points victory over Kyle Williams. This capped an excellent weekend of action involving world ranked fighters.