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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 on to the canvas.

Khongsong was taken from the York Hall ringside in London on a stretcher.

The Scot now moves closer to a world unification fight with WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez.

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 challenger who started on the front foot.

Both men came into the bout unscathed after 16 fights, with Khongsong, with 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 what challenge he would face.

The early exchanges suggested it may be a tricky one. Khongsong appeared lively, with Taylor forced to be patient as his opponent attempted to take the initiative. However, it did not take him long for the world champion’s moment to arrive.

With his opponent against the ropes and 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.

There was little response from him 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 is within touching distance.



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