It turns out that Top Rank Boxing will end up promoting the first fight of their new deal with Unified Junior Welterweight Champion Josh Taylor after all.
ESPN boxing Insider Dan Rafael reported Saturday evening that Top Rank has taken back over the promotion of Taylor’s next bout against Thailand #1 contender, Apinun Khongsong, because the promoter that won the original purse bid, Samson Boxing, defaulted on payment to the IBF:
Promotional rights to @JoshTaylorBoxer-Khongsong fall to @trboxing when @SampsonBoxing defaults on purse bid. My story: https://t.co/xbJpTrFUTV #boxing @BobArum @KornerMan44 @CarlMoretti @bradleyajacobs @CrystinaPoncher @ToddDuboef
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) February 1, 2020
Samsung Lewkowitz made the original winning bid of $1.32 million last Friday to promote the fight within the next three months. As Rafael reported, Lewkowitz deposited $132,000 last Friday, as the 10% minimum down payment.
However, when Lewkowitz failed to make the second installment by Friday at midnight, the IBF rules put him in default and gave the promotional rights back to the only other bidder, Top Rank. Sampson boxing’s money will now go to the fighter’s purses.
Top rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN,
We are not at all surprised that he defaulted,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN. “We are more surprised that he bid a ridiculous amount of money, considering the worth of the opponent. He didn’t have a broadcast partner or place to put the fight. He went in totally without either, and now he’s out $132,000. We always felt when we lost the bid we would end up doing this fight.”
Lewkowitz is the promoter for Khongsong, so it made sense that he was looking to get the winning bid. However, by his own admission Friday to ESPN, he was without financial backing or a television partner to get the fight scheduled and broadcast.
The other intriguing angle is whether Top Rank, which signed Taylor, 16-0, 12 KOs, to a new promotional deal last month, would have this fight in the U.S. or potentially in the UK. And, Rafael reported that the fight could be paired with the other unified Junior Welterweight Champ, Jose Luis Ramirez, and his rescheduled fight with Victor Postol.
Those two were supposed to have fought Saturday night in China, but the fight was postponed 10 days ago because of the outbreak of the possibly deadly coronavirus in that country. Top Rank is looking for a site and date to re-schedule Ramirez-Postol.
The ultimate goal from Top Rank’s Bob Arum is to have an Undisputed Championship battle between Taylor and Ramirez take place. Also looming, is a possible lucrative fight with American Regis Prograis who Taylor handed his first loss in an exciting 12 round battle for the World Boxing Super Series finale, in England last October.