When news broke last week, that Scottish unified World Junior Welterweight Champion, Josh Taylor, had signed on with Top Rank Boxing as his new promoter, there was hope we might see a rematch with Regis Prograis.
However, it looks like a mandatory title defense will get in the way first.
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) January 14, 2020
Unheralded, but unbeaten, Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs), is the mandatory for the IBF at 140 lb. His last fight was a July second round knockout and was his six consecutive KO. Khongsong has fought most of his fights in Thailand.
As Boxingscene wrote, they’ve learned through a letter they obtained that the IBF will hold a purse bid at their New Jersey office late next week, for Taylor to defend his title in the Spring. It is believed that Top Rank will come in as the biggest bid. More on that, shortly.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) acquired the IBF title in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series in May of last year, when he scored a 12-round decision over Ivan Baranchyk.
Taylor then won a hotly-contested entertaining 12-round fight (above) in October to unify the championship. That’s when he decisioned the WBA titleholder Prograis wining the WBSS Tournament and a $1 million bonus.
There is strong belief that, if Taylor is going to fight Khongsong early in 2020, then his next bout would very likely be a rematch with Prograis in the fall and probably in the United States.
However, there is also the issue of Taylor promotional rights.
This is because Cyclone Promotions in the U.K., which is run by former Irish World Champ Barry McGuigan and his family, is suing Taylor to enforce their contract with him. Taylor claims that he exercised a clause in the Cyclone deal to terminate it for “conflict of interest” involving other fighters.
Though, Taylor hasn’t specified what he and his legal team mean.
In any event, Arum and Top Rank have massive money and the chance through their deal in the U.S. with ESPN to put Taylor in lucrative fights quickly in America, or even back in his home of Scotland, if he wants.
Now, we wait to see what shakes out with the mandatory challenger, the date and the site.