SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 25, 2019 – For a moment, fight fans feared being deprived of seeing Saturday’s superb 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).
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when all business and financial issues got ironed out. The result is the kind of fight hardcore fans clear their schedules for. Even better news, it’s also the kind of fight casual sports fans can sink their teeth into as well.
This super lightweight championship fight for the WBA, IBF, and WBC world titles takes place at the O2 Arena in London and will air in the U.S. on DAZN USA. The card begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT; expect the main event around 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
Both men made weight in London on Friday, though Prograis had to drop his skivvies and weigh in behind the towel to do so. They pair traded words with lots of steam on them at their face-off, promising to do damage to the other. If they can produce the same heat with their fists, we’re in for a treat.
Take our advice and forget about college football for the afternoon. This is a true 50-50 matchup between undefeated boxers with the skills to box and the power to bang it out. Fans should see both Prograis and Taylor dipping into the toolbox throughout the fight to find the right tool for the job.
Prograis fights as he lives, relaxed and confident no matter what adversity he faces. The New Orelans native’s story of fleeing Hurricane Katrina with only the clothes on his back to Houston, only to flee again after Hurricane Harvey, tells you much of what you need to know about the 30–year-old, now training out of Los Angeles.
Prograis took a tough Terry Flanagan 12 hard rounds in a display of his boxing skills to reach the final on Saturday.
Taylor had a battle on his hands in his semifinal against Ivan Baranchyk, putting on a power punching clinic in another 12 hard rounds. Taylor won Baranchyk’s IBF title for his trouble. Prograis was at ringside, with Taylor saying “I feel I’m the best, he feels he’s the best. It will be a good fight.”
No one disagrees with Taylor’s assessment. Neither Prograis or Taylor have ever been in a bad fight, and both had to walk through opponent fire to get to this long anticipated final.
Taylor believes his well-rounded skillset will allow him to prevail. “My footwork is very good,” said Taylor. “I can offset you with feints and timing, but I punch real hard as well for someone of my size … I definitely think I can do a bit of everything.
“I’m very confident that I can outbox him and outfight him as well. I can’t see anything other than a Josh Taylor win. If he tries to make it a ‘dog fight’, tries to walk me down and drag me into a fight, he is getting chinned. I will knock him spark out!”
Prograis gives Taylor his props as a good fighter, second only to himself. “He’s taller, he’s longer. Does he hit harder? Maybe, maybe not. Faster? Maybe, maybe not. Better chin? Maybe, maybe not. The tale of the tape never matters. What matters is heart and boxing IQ, and mine are so high. That will be the difference.
“He gets hit,” added Prograis. “Josh has been hurt against Ivan Baranchyk and Viktor Postol who aren’t punchers like me. They’re not sharp, crisp like me, they don’t have the timing that I do. I’m versatile, that’s the biggest difference.”
Go south for the key to Prograis vs Taylor
This fight’s appeal lies precisely in how evenly matched the two champions are. It makes it a tough call, virtually a coin flip. But it’s our job as boxing writers to make the tough call. Someone’s got to do it.
In assessing the fight, multiple factors come into play. The fight is taking place on Taylor’s home turf in the UK. It is Prograis’ first fight outside the U.S., and he’ll be treated to the unmatched British fan fervor for Taylor. Facing home cooking by the officials is a legitimate concern.
The tale of the tape isn’t a big factor. Taylor is taller by two inches, but his reach advantage is negligible. Both have plenty of power and their knockout percentages are similar (80 percent for Taylor, 83.33 percent for Prograis).
Taylor is facing without a doubt the toughest southpaw opponent of his career. Taylor has only faced two southpaw fighters, and neither was much of a world beater, Winston Campos of Nicaragua and Lyes Chaibi of France. Prograis battled and conquered a tough southpaw in Flanagan. Prograis undoubtedly learned more in his fight than Taylor did in his two.
Prograis believes he has the better chin than Taylor, an “iron man with an iron jaw.” This is debatable. Far better for Prograis is to try and do damage by working the body of Taylor, but he’ll need to test his own chin to do so.
As the taller, lankier fighter, Taylor will be vulnerable and he’ll need to see if he can apply his boxing skills to win round by round. In a close fight, Taylor has a better chance of impressing the judges, particular with a packed O2 Arena cheering his every move. Prograis will have to apply power and hope to score at least a knockdown if not a stoppage.
Fight prediction for Prograis vs Taylor
Prograis cannot risk going to the cards in this fight. He surely knows it, and he has to bring the heat. Taylor doesn’t have to take as many risks to win.
Driven by this reality, and based on his background and calm response to pressure, we call for a late round TKO type stoppage by Prograis. Far better in either case to have one man stop the other, or win a definitive blowout than a disputed decision on the cards. Prograis and Taylor aren’t ever in bad fights.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how he comes out when that first bell rings. We can predict how he is going to fight and things like that, but you never know until that bell rings. It might be a skillful match throughout the entire fight, or we could just lock horns and fight, or a bit of both. You never know,” said Prograis.
“I am fully confident going in to this fight,” Taylor said. “I am bigger than him, stronger, quicker and punch just as hard. I can beat him in every department. If he comes and tries to walk me down than I believe that he will walk into a shot and I will get him out of there. If not, I can outbox him for the full 12 rounds.”
“The past is the past and this is going to be me and him and I think he will bring his A game like I will. This is going to be one hell of a fight,” said Prograis. Amen and pass the remote.
Undercard cheat sheet: Chisora vs Price, Burns vs Selby
Two domestic fights of great interest to British boxing fans highlight the undercard.
British heavyweights Dereck Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) and David Price (25-6, 20 KOs) should deliver a barnburner of a fight. It won’t be elegant, but no one will care. The winner keeps his career alive, while the loser needs to think about wrapping it up.
Lightweights Lee Selby of Wales (27-2, 9 KOs) and Ricky Burns of Scotland (43-7, 16 KOs) are both popular former champions who know how to put on a show. No titles on the line Saturday, only their Celtic pride in delivering a good performance.
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.
Copyright © 2019 by Falcon Valley Group