UNCASVILLE, Connecticut – Sampson Lewkowicz recognizes why Apinun Khongsong is a gargantuan underdog against Josh Taylor.
Khongsong’s promoter admits that the Thai contender has never encountered anyone nearly as good as the skillful Scottish southpaw. Lewkowicz knows Khongsong’s power is real, however, and that Taylor’s unbeaten, unknown challenger could benefit from Taylor overlooking him Saturday night at York Hall in London.
“The champion is totally underestimating my kid,” Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com. “[Jermell] Charlo is underestimating [Jeison] Rosario, but this guy [Taylor], he’s completely underestimating my guy. We’ll see because my guy has a good punch. He’s not so fast, like Taylor. But I believe if he passes the sixth round, then he has a great chance to knock [Taylor] out. But he needs to get past six rounds.”
Most handicappers have installed Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) as at least a 35-1 favorite to conquer Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Taylor’s IBF and WBA 140-pound titles. The 24-year-old Khongsong is the mandatory challenger for Taylor’s IBF junior welterweight title, despite that the number one contender’s opponents were a combined 182-147-19 entering their losses to him.
“I cannot say that [Khongsong] will win the fight,” said Lewkowicz, who also promotes Rosario. “If it goes 12 rounds, then he will lose a decision, most likely unanimous.
“But this kid used to be in a different sport. He was in Muay Thai for 10 years, from a very young age. So, he has a lot of heart. But it’s a very tough fight.”
ESPN+ will stream Taylor-Khongsong as the main event of a show set to start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT in the United States. BT Sport 1 will televise Taylor-Khongsong as the main event of a broadcast that’ll begin at 7:30 p.m. BT in the United Kingdom.
Though Lewkowicz is certain Taylor isn’t taking his fighter seriously, Taylor told BoxingScene.com recently that he hasn’t underestimated his unproven opponent.
“Every single fight, I take it as seriously as the next one,” Taylor said. “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.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.