Josh Taylor’s first fight under contract with Top Rank has landed in the hands of another promoter.
Sampson Lewkowicz’s Sampson Boxing has secured the rights to Taylor’s unified junior welterweight title defense versus Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong, outbidding Top Rank at Friday’s purse bid hearing at International Boxing Federation (IBF) headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey. Sampson Boxing put up a massive bid of $1.32 million, just enough to edge out Top Rank’s offer of $1.26 million to gain control of the IBF-ordered mandatory title fight.
As per terms of the purse bid, Lewkowicz—who guides the career of Khongsong (is required to submit a 10% non-refundable deposit and is required to return signed contracts with a firm date and location for the event, which must be staged within the next 90 days.
Despite gaining control of the event and having the option to stage wherever he pleases, indications are that the fight will take place in the United Kingdom, with Taylor serving as a box office attraction in his Scotland homeland and elsewhere throughout the U.K.
Taylor (16-0, 12KOs) will be entitled to 65% of the winning purse amount as the defending champion, which leads his side to split $858,000 for his second overall title defense and first as a unified titlist. Khongsong will collect the remaining 35% ($462,000) as the mandatory challenger.
For the unbeaten 29-year old southpaw—whom represented Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics—the bout will represent his first both as a Top Rank and MTK Global-represented boxer and also since his winning tour in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) 140-pound tournament.
Through the tournament, Taylor trumped three undefeated fighters—Ryan Martin, Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis—with the latter two wins earning him the pair of alphabet titles he currently possesses. It was inevitable that he would have to make mandatory defenses ahead of pursuing an undisputed showdown versus fellow unbeaten and unified titlist Jose Ramirez, though also believed such a super fight would come easier after signing with Top Rank—whom has promoted Ramirez since his pro debut—earlier this month.
Interestingly, Taylor’s signing came on the same day that Sampson Boxing inked Khongsong (16-0, 13KOs) to a promotional contract. A mere five days later came a request from Lewkowicz to order an immediate purse bid hearing—and another 10 days later, scoring an upset of sorts in the sanctioning body board room.
“It is what it is,” Carl Moretti, vice president of operations for Top Rank told BoxingScene.com of the purse bid outcome.
Khongsong made his way to the mandatory position following a stunning 5th round knockout of former title challenger Akihiro Kondo last February on the road in Japan. The bout marked his lone career fight outside of his native Thailand, although the 23-year old is poised to travel to hostile territory for his first career title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox