UNDEFEATED world boxing champion Josh Taylor insists the lack of a crowd will not stop him in his quest to become undisputed champion.

The 29-year-old will step back into the ring for the first time in nearly a year when he takes on Apinun Khongsong in London on Saturday.

Taylor has regularly been cheered on by partisan crowds but will be fighting in front of only a television crew, with spectators not allowed at ringside due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite that, Taylor was in confident mood ahead of taking on his unbeaten rival.

He said: “This is what I live for.

“The big nights and the big stage is what I dreamed of and there is no way I’ll let the pandemic and no crowd let it slip and have an impact on my performance.

“I’m going to take this opportunity with both hands and keep hold of my belts, and then we’ll move on to bigger and better things.”

The bout headlines the show at the BT Sport Studios, which will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1.

Coverage starts at 7.30pm and Taylor’s ring walk is expected at about 10pm but that depends on how long the fights on the undercard last.

Taylor, originally from Prestonpans but now living in Haddington, and his trainer Ben Davison attended a BT Sport event earlier this month in a bid to get a feel of what their own fight night would be like.

The WBA and IBF Super Lightweight champion is confident that the unique venue will hold no surprises.

He said: “I was at the show on Saturday and thought it would be quite weird but it’s still impressive.

“It’s got the razzle dazzle with the big screen and the lights, so it’s still got that fight night feel.

“That’s the last box ticked off that I was concerned about, so there are no worries now.

“The time me and Ben have spent together has been brilliant, and it’s been good getting to know each other personally.

“We’re on the same page and have been flying in the gym.”

Both fighters come into the 12-round bout, which will see both of Taylor’s belts on the line, on the back of lengthy lay-offs.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Taylor fought twice last year, getting the better of two previously undefeated boxers as he won the World Boxing Super Series.

Firstly in May, he defeated Ivan Baranchyk (19-0) on points to lift the IBF title and then, in October, he won the WBA belt after a points victory over Regis Prograis (24-0).

Twenty-four-year-old Khongsong, who has won 13 of his 16 bouts by stoppage, defeated Yosmar Kefi by TKO in July last year.

Khongsong, from Thailand, has only fought outside his homeland once, defeating Akihiro Kondo in Japan last February.

Taylor added: “Khongsong is a good fighter who punches right through the target and has power in both hands, but we’ve studied him a lot and we think we can expose things on fight night.”

The fight also marks the first time that Taylor and Davison have worked together.

The trainer has worked alongside a number of world champions, including Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders.

Davison said: “It was good to go to the venue and get an idea of what to expect.

“This isn’t going to be a fight where Josh needed the backing of the crowd, as we want him to have a smart approach.

“Josh has come off a fantastic win, and it’s not about overlooking information.

“There are just a little bit of adjustments and fine tuning to make.

“Things are starting to come together at the right time and it’s all about peaking on the night.”

The ring walks are expected from 10pm UK time but that will depend on the undercard results.

Former WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards will take on fellow Brit Kyle William before the main event.

The fight will be shown on BT Sport 1, with coverage starting at 7.30pm.

The show will be live streamed on BT Sport’s website and app.

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