There could not have been a more emphatic statement from Josh Taylor as the Scotsman had an early night defending defending his WBA and IBF super lightweight world titles with a body shot stoppage in the opening round against mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong from BT Studios at York Hall.
Taylor, promoted by Bob Arum, is now in situ for an undisputed 140lbs blockbuster fight with Jose Ramirez, holder of the other two divisional belts, presumably when crowds are allowed into arenas again. The Las Vegas based promoter said last week that Edinburgh is firmly under consideration "as long as the numbers make sense."
Business before anything with Arum. It is why he has survived six decades in the sport with his phalanx of greats.
For Taylor, who has already achieved so much and who moved on to 17-0 in his career, the lack of overtime with Khongsong was a definite bonus. It was much to the relief of new trainer Ben Davison, the man who helped bring world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury back from the brink. Khongsong had knocked out thirteen of his sixteen opponents and was undefeated coining to the UK.
Davison told Telegraph Sport on Saturday: "The most pleasing thing about it was that Josh got out of there with very little damage - though he did tell me afterwards that Khongsong hit harder than anyone he had ever fought. I believe Josh will get more credit for this victory later on because the Thai fighter will go on and knock some very big names out. He was a very, very dangerous opponent."
Davison, credited as being a defensive coach through his work with Fury, has worked on the attacking grace of Taylor, a naturally aggressive fighter whose desire is to engage, added: "The truth is the sky is the limit for Josh in terms of how good he could be and he has already achieved so much. We see him as a multi-weight world champion in the future."
Taylor ended the Thai's night early with a perfect left hand to the liver at 2 mins 41 seconds of the opening stanza with WBC and WBO world champion Ramirez waiting ahead, most likely early in 2021.
Taylor's last five opponents had a combined record of 110 wins and 1 loss between them. The resume the 29-year-old from Prestonpans is developing certainly meets any scrutiny, with the former Commonwealth gold medallist headed for major fights if his skills continue to develop and be honed.
“One hundred per cent, I want Ramirez next. He’s a very good champion, unbeaten like myself, hungry, on top of his game. I want that fight as soon as possible," said triumphant Taylor. "To be honest, I would rather wait until the fans are back for that fight. It’s a huge fight. It’s one of the biggest fights at the minute for all the belts.”
In the USA. twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo had impressive world title defences on the same card at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Jermell Charlo knocked out Jeison Rosario with a brutal blow to the body in the eighth round of their super welterweight unification bout. Charlo added Rosario’s WBA and IBF belts to his WBC crown. And earlier in the evening, Jermall Charlo dominated the ultra-tough Sergiy Derevyanchenko to gain a unanimous-decision victory in retaining his WBC middleweight crown.
Elsewhere, trainer Freddie Roach has poured scorn on the match-up which is being spoken of between Manny Pacquiao and former MMA star Conor McGregor. Both fighters are represented by the same sports agency and have confirmed talks are ongoing for a match up in boxing next year.
"If this is true," wrote Roach on his Twitter account. "Manny Pacquiao will have an easier time with you [@TheNotoriousMMA] than when he fought @HitmanHatton [Ricky Hatton]." Pacquiao knocked Hatton out in two rounds in Las Vegas in 2009.