WBA and IBF junior welterweight champion Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor 16-0 (12) doesn’t believe a fight with WBC and 140-pound WBO champion Jose Carlos Ramirez 26-0 (17) will go without a gate live.
The 29-year-old Scottish southpaw is set to defend his unified championship against the powerful Thai Apinun Khongsong 16-0 (13) behind closed doors at York Hall in London on Saturday night.
Taylor signed with US promotional powerhouse Top Rank after beating undefeated US Regis Prograis in the World Boxing Super Series final last year.
The deal is expected to lead to a four-belt unification fight with Ramirez this year before the global coronavirus pandemic strikes and boxing is suspended for several months. The fight is still on the table, but it’s unlikely to happen before 2021.
Before that can happen, Taylor must first get past the compulsory IBF Khongsong.
“I have some big massive fights coming up and we need the fans to come back for them,” Taylor told the Daily Star.
“It’s like going to a birthday party with the popped balloons. It’s just not the same.
“The fans are what makes the night, the most memorable nights are when the atmosphere is amazing.
“When that balloon bursts, it’s crap.”
Top Rank boss Bob Arum is open to combat taking place in Scotland or the United States.
“This is Josh’s goal and we hope to be open to his army of Scottish supporters whether this fight takes place in Edinburgh or Las Vegas,” he said.
The bout with Khongsong, 24, will be Taylor’s first outing with new coach Ben Davison, who has been instrumental in rejuvenating Tyson Fury’s career after the long layoff and the rise of heavyweights .
He says as good as Taylor is, there is still room for improvement.
“I think he can continue to improve,” Davison said.
“He had some phenomenal wins and performances, but sometimes he took punches he didn’t need to take or fights a little harder than he needed.
“People think I’m a defensive coach, it’s not fair but I don’t want to see a fighter take punches that he doesn’t have to take.
“I want Josh to stay as offensive and in control of a fight as you usually see him but just exerting less energy, taking fewer hits.
“This is the key element. Look at Canelo Alvarez, a few years ago people would have said, “Can he get better?” but it is still improving.
Earlier this week, Taylor insisted he was not neglecting Khongsong.
“We prepared for this by training in my new home gym in Scotland quietly, without screaming. So it won’t sound so strange, ”Taylor said.
“I take this fight seriously. And although Khongsong seems like a nice guy, there will be no friendship in the ring. Just spite.
Khongsong vowed to win the fight within the expected distance of 12 rounds.
“I’m happy to fight here and being behind closed doors is good for me because there won’t be a crowd and boxing fans,” he said.
“I am very proud to fight Josh Taylor because he is a very good champion. I prepared very well to fight him on Saturday. The plan is to stop Josh Taylor by knockout.