Taylor has a new trainer in his corner in the form of Ben Davison as he defends his two world super lightweight title belts on Saturday
Josh Taylor has been set the task of ‘fighting smart’ by new trainer Ben Davison when the Scotsman defends his two world super lightweight title belts against knockout artist Apinun Khongsong behind closed doors at BT Sport Studios in Stratford, London.
The reward for a triumphant finish is an undisputed blockbuster for all four belts against Jose Ramirez next year, potentially in Edinburgh, with Taylor needing to temper his propensity to get involved in a fight in a phone box. No need, and foolish against Khonghsong, who is heavy handed, unbeaten and has 13 knockouts from 16 victories.
Davison told The Daily Telegraph that what he wishes to see from his charge. “I’d like to watch Josh fighting smart. Set up his work smartly and finish his work smartly. Be in control of the fight. Dictate where the fight takes place, how the fight takes place. Be in control of the fight without constantly having to exchange to remain in control.” No firefights, says Davison, though Taylor often finds it hard to back down.
“We clicked straight away” said Taylor of his relationship with Davison, the young trainer who helped bring Tyson Fury back from the brink of mental breakdown. “Although it’s a different atmosphere without any fans, we’ve been replicating that in the gym and we don’t think there are going to be any issues. We’re rocking and ready to go. Can’t wait to get in there and show a strong performance.”
Davison added: The biggest thing that has impressed me about Josh is the way he sets himself goals and what he’s achieved in 16 fights. He’s got a lot of momentum behind him, he’s unified champion and I love the fact he’s set himself a new goal to be undisputed champion. I admire and respect that.
For me it’s about trying to keep that momentum and keep building while making adjustments. While with Tyson we had a couple of fights there and a longer period of time to work on things and change a couple of things with his style. With Josh we’ve not got that much time. As much as the expectation people have that this is a typical defence, I just don’t see it that way. I believe it’s a much tougher fight. Stylistically, it’s a much tougher fight for Josh than the undisputed fight with Ramirez.
It’s certainly an interesting one for me in that regard. I feel Josh will come through and we’ll look to get straight back to work, make the adjustments to become undisputed.
Promoter Bob Arum, meanwhile, will look to create an undisputed 140lb super-fight between Taylor and Jose Ramirez, holder of the other two belts in the division, should Taylor come through this test.
We’re very excited this fight is happening. Without counting our chickens before they hatch, if Josh is successful, next year we plan to have him face the other unified junior welterweight champ, Jose Ramirez. That should be one of the marquee fights of 2021,” said the octogenarian promoter.
Taylor is taking nothing for granted. “I know how dangerous this guy will be – it’s his big chance to really change his life. Not only to become the champion but unified world champion. I know what his mindset is. I know he’ll be bringing his A-game. He’s relatively in unknown, there’s limited footage of him as well. If I switch off and think it’ll be a blowover fight, it only takes one punch…. We’ve seen that happen a couple times in recent times. I’m not thinking about the fight after this, it’s all about Saturday night and getting the job done well. I can’t afford to slip up.”
I expect Taylor to have some testing moments early on, as he shakes off the ring rust, but outbox the Thai challenger by the late rounds and claim a comfortable points victory, or even a late rounds stoppage.