JOSH TAYLOR again demonstrated his class as he retained his world titles in clinical fashion with a first round stoppage of Apinun Khongsong.

The Scot had promised to make a statement in his first outing of 2020 and did not disappoint as he defended his WBA and IBF world super-lightweight belts and also the Ring Magazine title by making light work of his Thai opponent.

Taylor had been respectful about the previously undefeated challenger in the build-up but wasted no time in tarnishing Khongsong’s reputation with an early finish behind closed doors in York Hall in London.

This was the Prestonpans southpaw’s first outing since a memorable match-up with Regis Prograis in the World Boxing Super Series final 11 months ago, a period in which he has changed both his promoters and his trainer.

It was only natural, then, to expect an element of rustiness as the 29 year-old went about his business but it took just two minutes and 41 seconds to bring it all to a close.

A left-hand shot from Taylor to the body sent Khongsong to the canvas and it soon became apparent that the Thai would not get up to beat the count.

The vanquished opponent, in fact, remained down on the canvas for some time before gingerly climbing to his feet. Taylor looked somewhat sheepish at how simplistic it had all been but will no doubt take wins like that throughout the rest of his career.

“I felt that body shot sinking in right away,” he explained for the benefit of those who thought Khongsong had gone down rather easily.

“I knew that was a real good shot but didn’t know I had hurt him to that extent until I turned around and saw him lying on the floor. But I had been nice and patient to set that shot up.

“I would have liked to have [had a bit longer] to show what we’ve been working on in the gym. But we don’t get paid overtime so I got him out of there straight away. I can go now and get my usual after-fight pint and pizza.”

The Scot had been reluctant in the build-up to talk too much about the prospect of a match-up with Top Rank stablemate Jose Ramirez for fear of overlooking the immediate challenge ahead.

But having taken care of business with this convincing win over Khongsong, the hype to make that fight happen will only grow.

The hope had been that contest would be for all the belts, giving Taylor the chance to become Scotland’s first undisputed champion for 50 years.

But with Englishman Jack Catterall the mandatory challenger for Ramirez’s WBO belt, the American may choose to vacate that title and offer up instead just his WBC belt.

Taylor, though, wants that fight regardless and would like nothing more than for it to happen in Edinburgh in front of a crowd next summer.

He added: “I want Ramirez next, 100 percent. He’s a very good champion and at the top of his game but I want that fight now. I’d whoop his ass all day long.

“I know the situation with the mandatory challenger but hopefully we can get that worked out. I’ve never ducked a big fight and I’m game.

“But I would rather wait until the fans are back for that one. It’s one of the biggest fights in boxing and it would be better with fans there, either on these shores or in America. I want to be the man to beat Ramirez and I could fight Catterall down the line after that.”