Josh Taylor enhanced his growing reputation with a first-round knockout of Apinun Khongsong in a superb defence of his WBA and IBF super-lightweight belts.
The Scot started on the front foot and caught the Thai challenger with a left-hand body shot to secure victory after two minutes and 41 seconds of action at York Hall in east London.
The punch meant the previously unbeaten Khongsong spent more time on the floor than on his feet during the fight. The IBF mandatory challenger eventually got off the canvas only to roll out of the ring under the ropes and left the arena on a stretcher.
The contest – initially due to be staged in Glasgow in May – was Taylor’s first since winning the World Boxing Super Series against Regis Prograis 11 months ago. It extends the former Commonwealth champion’s professional record to 17 victories from as many fights, with 13 knockouts.
The 24-year-old Khongsong had only fought once outside of Thailand, in Japan, and had not fought anyone near the class of Taylor’s opponents, four of whom lost their unbeaten records against the Scot. That quartet includes the American Prograis.
Khongsong found the step up in level far too much to handle as Taylor quickly overcame a hurdle in his quest to become undisputed world champion by taking on WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez.
Taylor, fighting for the first time under new trainer Ben Davison, insisted afterwards that he spent enough time in the ring to know that his opponent could have posed a threat.
“He [Khongsong] was the heaviest puncher I have ever been in with,” Taylor said. “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.”