World champion Josh Taylor knocked out Apinun Khongsong in an incredible first round to defend his WBA and IBF light welterweight titles.
The Scot, 29, struck the Thailand fighter with a left-hand body shot to send the undefeated 24-year-old crumpling to the canvas. Khongsong was eventually taken by stretcher from ringside in London’s York Hall.
Taylor now moves closer to a fight with WBO and WBC title holder Jose Ramirez on his quest to become the undisputed world champion.
“I felt it [the punch] sinking in straight away,” he told BT Sport.
- Josh Taylor v Apinun Khongsong – as it happened
“I didn’t know it had hurt him to that extent until I saw him on the floor.
“He [Khongsong] was the heaviest puncher I have ever been in with. I could feel the weight of his power. That switched me on to take my time and be patient.
“It was a great shot but I’d like to have shown what we’ve been working on in the gym. But you don’t get paid overtime. I can go and get a pint and a pizza.”
It took just two minutes and 41 seconds for the contest to be over, with Taylor’s fierce hook to the gut the first real blow landed by the Prestonpans fighter.
Instead, it was the largely unknown but undefeated IBF mandatory challenger who started on the front foot.
Both men came into the bout unscathed after 16 fights, with Khongsong – 13 knockouts to his name – fighting outside of Asia for the first time. With no partisan crowd there to cheer on Taylor, there was an air of the unknown as to what challenge he would face.
The early exchanges suggested it may be a tricky one. The man from Bangkok appeared lively, with Taylor forced to be patient as his opponent attempted to take the initiative. However, it did not take long for the world champion’s moment to arrive.
With his opponent against the ropes, his guard high and a right hook missing its target, the Scot swung a thudding blow to the ribs. There was little delay as Khongsong slid to the floor.
The response from him was minimal as he writhed on the deck during the count, Taylor standing in the opposite corner, arms stretched out.
And as he should. His dream fight is now almost within touching distance. Ramirez, and a truly iconic contest, may well be next.
“I want Jose Ramirez next, 100%,” he added. “He’s a very good champion, hungry like myself, on the top of his game. I want that fight now; I feel I’ve got the beating of him.
“I’ve never ducked anyone, but to be honest I would rather wait until the fans are back, a fight of that magnitude would be better in front of a crowd.”