We knew that unified Junior Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor will make his latest title defense later this spring and now in a surprise, a lesser-known promotion has landed the rights to his next title fight.
ESPN boxing Insider Dan Rafael reported on Friday that Sampson Boxing Promotions out-bid larger Top Rank Boxing for the rights to the upcoming Taylor WBA/IBF title defense that will now probably be held in the U.K.
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) January 24, 2020
Sampson Lewkowicz, told Rafael that he is thrilled to have gotten the winning bid for just over $1.3 million. The blind purse bid was held the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey, and Top Rank was the only other bidder for the fight coming in some $60,000 under the winning Sampson bid.
“I’m very happy to win this. I will send the contract to Top Rank shortly,” Lewkowicz said. “The only one to ever beat me in a purse bid was [Japanese promoter Akihiko] Honda and he never produced the fight. I believe that Taylor is a great champion, but I will not be surprised when Khongsong wins, just like I wasn’t surprised last week when [Jeiso]) Rosario won. Nobody believes me, but I represent the best fighters on earth.”
Khongsong is, Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), and is the new mandatory for the IBF at 140 lb. His last fight was a July second round knockout and was his sixth consecutive KO. Khongsong has fought most of his fights in Thailand.
Khongsong’s already promoted by Sampson Boxing. So, it’s a natural tie in for them to promote his world title fight it definitely has appeal in Europe, as well as the Far East.
Meanwhile, Taylor, 16-0, 12 KOs, is Scottish and won the World Boxing Super Series finale’ last October in London in a fantastic fight with American Regis Prograis to unify the WBA and IBF belts.
It had been believed the Top Rank, which signed Taylor earlier this month, would win the purse bid and likely have him fight in the United States. And, that may very well happen down the road in a potential rematch with Prograis or in a potential clash for the Undisputed 140 lb. title with WBC/WBO champ, Jose Luis Ramirez.
For now, Top Rank, which has a network television agreement with ESPN in the United States would likely televise the Taylor-Khongsong fight in North America, whenever it takes place within the next 90 days.
As for Prograis, he is likely going to fight former WBC Super Lightweight champ, Maurice Hooker, and is still very much in play for the rematch with Taylor later in 2020 or potentially the first part of 2021.