Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images
The mandatory challenger was no real challenge at all in London.
Josh Taylor easily defended his WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles today at York Hall, disposing of over-matched mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong in the first round of the show’s main event.
Taylor (17-0, 13 KO) hit Thailand’s Khongsong (16-1, 13 KO) with a left hand to the body, which put and kept the challenger down far beyond the 10 count that signaled the knockout finish.
Don’t blink, you might miss @JoshTaylorBoxer’s KO punch #TaylorKhongsong pic.twitter.com/vkxflxSOEZ
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) September 26, 2020
It was, ultimately, a rather nothing win for the 29-year-old Scot, but it got him active, it took care of a ridiculous mandatory order, and it sets him up for an undisputed title fight at some point with Top Rank stablemate Jose Ramirez, who has the WBC and WBO belts. Ramirez has another mandatory in Jack Catterall, but as Catterall is a Queensberry fighter and Queensberry and Top Rank work together well, that might be able to be put off. And even if it can’t be, then it should mean one more fight for Taylor and Ramirez before an undisputed fight, if they can keep their belts.
In short, like the fight, nothing new was learned about Josh Taylor today, but he marches on.
- Charlie Edwards PTS-10 Kyle Williams: Edwards got the win at 99-91 here in his bantamweight debut, and I’m guessing the BT Sport commentary was a bit kinder to him than Bernardo Osuna and Tim Bradley were calling the fight for ESPN+. Bradley in particular pointed out a lot of what he felt were Edwards’ flaws, and advised him to “stay far away” from the top guys at 118 like Naoya Inoue, Nordine Oubaali, and John Riel Casimero. Edwards (16-1, 6 KO) is a former titleholder at flyweight and a decent fighter, but he doesn’t have wins over any true world class type guys, and lost to Casimero at 112 already, and was going to lose to Julio Cesar Martinez. He’s not bad, but that top level really might just be beyond his skill set. And Williams (11-3, 3 KO) really probably did do better than the referee’s score would lead you to think, too. (I am told Carl Frampton on BT Sport had it 97-93 for Edwards, which is probably closer to how it went. Edwards did deserve the win.)
- Ionut Baluta TKO-3 Davey Oliver Joyce: This is two straight good wins for Baluta (14-2, 3 KO), a 26-year-old Romanian, now based in Spain, and both came against Irish guys, for what it’s worth. Baluta upset former world titlist TJ Doheny in March, and here he just trucked Joyce (12-2, 9 KO), the 33-year-old former Irish amateur standout who has now lost two of three and probably has to consider whether pro boxing is for him at this point, whether he’ll want to try coming back again or if he’d be content to stick around as probably more of a prospect checker for a while. Joyce moved down to 122 in his last fight and beat a faded Lee Haskins, but Baluta rushed him in this fight and just beat him up. Joyce was down once in the third, and the referee stepped in as he was facing another assault.
- George Davey PTS-4 Jeff Thomas: The 38-year-old Thomas (12-8-3, 1 KO) gave the 22-year-old Davey (3-0, 0 KO) a valuable little fight here. Thomas had been out of action between 2012 and March of this year, but he’s back with some real spirit, and he landed some shots in this fight and gave it a go. Davey, a junior middleweight prospect, got a clear win, 40-36 on the referee’s card, but he had to think about a few things in there, and that’s useful.
- Eithan James PTS-4 Kris Pilkington: James is a 20-year-old junior welterweight who looks all of about 13 in his BoxRec profile photo, though in real life in 2020 he definitely looks older than he did there, I think that’s a shot from his amateur days. And he was a good amateur at the Youth/Junior level, winning Commonwealth gold and European silver. He didn’t do anything that will wow you here, but won all four rounds clean and clear over Pilkington (2-8-1, 0 KO). James is now 4-0, yet to score a stoppage.