Josh Taylor is well aware Apinun Khongsong’s nearly identical record hasn’t been built against the types of opponents the Scottish southpaw has beaten.
Other than two boxers who made their pro debuts against him, the Thai contender hasn’t faced an undefeated fighter. In his most recent bout, Khongsong knocked out Yosmar Kefi, then 9-11, in the second round in July 2019.
Overall, Khongsong’s opponents were a combined 182-147-19 entering their losses to him.
Taylor hasn’t allowed Khongsong’s low level of opposition to impact preparation for their 12-round, 140-pound title fight Saturday night in London. Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) is treating the unknown Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) like the mandatory challenger for his IBF junior welterweight title is Regis Prograis or Jose Ramirez, the WBC/WBO champion Taylor hopes to fight after defeating Khongsong.
“Every single fight, I take it as seriously as the next one,” Taylor told BoxingScene.com. “So, since my first pro fight, every fight has been treated like a world title fight. And I’m not changing my approach now, you know? I’m not gonna start underestimating people now. I’ve seen it happen so many times in the past, and in the recent past as well, where folk have underestimated their opponents and it’s gone horribly wrong. I’m definitely not doing that. I’m giving him the utmost respect, the respect that he deserves. I’ve got my full attention on Apinun Khongsong, and I think he’ll have the best of me. That’s for sure. I’m preparing 100 percent for him.”
Most odds-makers have installed Taylor as at least a 35-1 favorite to conquer Khongsong in the main event of a card at BT Sport Studio. Taylor, who hasn’t fought since he topped Prograis by majority decision in their title unification fight nearly 11 months ago, considers Khongsong more dangerous than those lopsided odds suggest.
“I know he’s tall,” Taylor said of Khongsong, who stands 5-feet-10. “He’s as tall as me. He has a similar record as well, with a slightly more percentage of knockouts than me. From what I’ve seen of his fights, he looks like he carries power. You know, he punches through the target, carries power, and you know, he’s tough. He’s a tough fighter and he’s very good. So, I’ve got my hands full and I need to make sure I get through this fight, and it doesn’t get in the way of my future plans. He’s standing in the way of that, so I’m looking to get him out of the way and do a good job on him.”
The Taylor-Khongsong fight will headline an ESPN+ stream scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT in the United States. BT Sport will air Taylor-Khongsong as the main event of a show set to begin at 7 p.m. BT in the UK.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.