Josh Taylor too much for Regis Prograis, takes Muhammad Ali Trophy in majority decision Saturday
SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 26, 2019 – The World Boxing Super Series super-lightweight tournament finale between Regis “Rougarou” Prograis of Houston (24 -0, 20 KOs) and Josh “Tartan Tornado” Taylor of Scotland (15-0, 12 KOs) didn’t disappoint.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) sent his fans home from the O2 Arena happy with a majority decision victory over Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs). Scores were 117-111, 115-113, and 114-114. In addition to the trophy presented by super middleweight champion Callum Smith, Taylor is now the WBA, IBF, and WBC world super-lightweight champion.
Accepting the win with a horribly swollen right eye after accumulated damage from Prograis’s left jab, Taylor joked, “It was a walk in the park, wasn’t it? Easy fight? All respect to Regis Prograis, he’s a great champion But the best man won.
“He was very good, he was very good,” added Taylor. “Good head movement and good timing. He certainly lives up to his name and exceeds his reputation. Respect to him, it was good motivation.” Taylor dedicated the win to his late father-in-law, who passed away on September 15.
Prograis was gracious in taking his first-ever loss. “You know it was a close fight. I know he was at home, I knew it would be close. The better man won tonight, so it’s cool.”
The fight had everything to please both hardcore fans and more casual sports fans: high stakes drama, plenty of skills on display, and solid engagement between the combatants. Neither man eased off, not for a single minute. No matter the outcome, both can be proud of their efforts.
Taylor wins behind pressure and speed
Before the fight, Taylor believed his footwork, feints, timing, and speed would be the difference. He turned out to be right. Early in the fight, Prograis kept Taylor off with good jabs peppered with upper cuts and body work. After a few tight early rounds, Taylor settled in against Prograis, seeing something he could work with.
Taylor began to jump in, applying pressure and leveraging his height to lean on Prograis and push off with his forearm and shoulder, staying just this side of being called for it. Taylor stepped up the work rate and stayed busier. His accuracy was better than Prograis, and the fifth round showed Taylor taking control. He stood taller, punching with intent.
Prograis did well making Taylor miss, but he wasn’t busy enough. It was unclear whether he’d sustained an injury or was feeling tired. Taylor sensed it, and stepped up the pressure. He was the picture of confidence in the ring. Everyone could see it, including Prograis.
But the New Orleans native never gave up. He dug deep and landed a solid left to the chin of Taylor. But it didn’t have any serious steam even though he snapped Taylor’s head back. Taylor was fully in control.
In the last third of the fight, Prograis was on tired legs. Taylor worked on the inside, wrestling with Prograis and wearing him down. Would Taylor play it safe the last few rounds, or go for the glory? Prograis pushed the issue, doing what he could with the tools he had left. Give “Rougarou” credit for calling on his spirit animal to look for the knockout punch he needed to win.
It didn’t come, and Taylor took the victory. “The boxing and the free flow, and my speed” made the difference, said Taylor. “I don’t think he quite expected I could stretch out and reach.” Taylor thanked his Scottish fans for supporting him, and said he’d like to fight rival champion Jose Ramirez of Fresno, California in a unification fight. “Let’s get it on, Ramirez, where you at?” said Taylor.
Prograis said he’d love a rematch. “I thought it was pretty even until the last three rounds, and then I thought I caught up. I give no excuses, the better man won tonight. England, I’ll be back. I definitely enjoyed that, I’m pretty sure he enjoyed that too. Let’s do a part two and make $20 million,” said Prograis.
Undercard results: Chisora stops Price, Selby beats Burns
British heavyweight Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) had a surprisingly easy afternoon against David Price (25-7, 20 KOs). Chisora looked good from the opening bell, taking it to Price and rattling him to the body. After four brutal rounds, Price’s corner wisely threw in the towel and called it a day. Chisora wins a minor WBO heavyweight title, hoping to eventually put himself in position as a mandatory challenger against the winner of the Ruiz Jr. vs. Joshua rematch. Chisora said he’d also like to fight his original opponent, Joseph Parker of New Zealand.
Lightweight Lee Selby of Wales (28-2, 9 KOs) hopes to become the first man from his nation to win two titles after winning a majority decision over Ricky Burns of Scotland (43-8, 16 KOs). Selby won by majority decision with scores of 116-112, 116-113, and 115-115. Selby came out strong and had Burns well in hand through the first half of the fight. Whatever cobwebs were in Burns’ head, he shook them off and fought with more urgency through the second half of the fight. Burns got himself back in position to win, but Selby had built up enough of a lead to prevail.
Young American Austin “Ammo” Williams of Houston (4-0, 3 KOs) made a successful UK debut, winning his middleweight fight against Miroslav Juna of the Czech Republic (1-4, 1 KO). The fight was scored by the referee as a shutout for Williams, 40-36. Williams shares a manager with Regis Prograis, opening up the opportunity to appear on the London card and gain valuable experience early in his career.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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