By Rich Lopez
This past weekend, we were treated with a great fight in the light heavyweight division between Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. It was a battle between two undefeated champions at the prime of their careers and was almost a pick’em fight. Live on DAZN this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, we will see another battle between two undefeated champions at the prime of their careers in the junior welterweight division. WBA champion Regis Prograis and IBF champion Josh Taylor will face off in a unification fight but there is a lot more in stake. This is the final for the Ali Trophy in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) but also for the lineal championship.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series
Regis “Rougarou” Prograis, 24-0, 20 KO’s, of New Orleans, LA, has been boxing professional for seven years. Prograis who was an outstanding amateur has gone from top prospect to world champion as a pro. The 30 year old has made huge statements in his career so far and he has stopped eight of his last nine opponents. Fans started to take notice of him with his stoppage victory over Julius Indongo and Juan Jose Velasco. This led him to compete in the WBSS with other top junior welterweights in the division. In his first fight of the tournament, he dominated former lightweight champion Terry Flanagan to win a unanimous decision in the quarterfinal bout. He then stopped Kiryl Relikh in the 6th round of the semi-finals to capture the WBA title. Now he is the favorite to win the Ali Trophy, but he will face his toughest fight against Taylor.
Josh “The Tartan Tornado” Taylor, 15-0, 12 KO’s, of Scotland, has been boxing professional for five years. Taylor was also an outstanding amateur and a 2012 Olympian. Since turning pro in 2015, Taylor has climbed the rankings fast. The 28 year old has already stopped Ohara Davies and former champion Miguel Vazquez. Last year, he also defeated former junior welterweight champion Viktor Postol which led him to the WBSS tournament. Like Prograis, Taylor has been impressive in the tournament as well. In the quarter-final, he stopped the undefeated Ryan Martin in the 7th round. He then outclassed undefeated Ivan Baranchyk in the semi-final to obtain the IBF belt.
Now all eyes will be on Prograis vs Taylor for supremacy in the junior welterweight division. Both fighters are southpaw and are very fast. Taylor will have the edge with the height and reach, but so far Prograis has figured out how to beat all his opponents. For Prograis, he will face someone with the same skill level as him. Maybe this fight will come down to who can take the better punch? This is definitely a pick’em fight. Taylor will have hometown fans behind him, but that should not affect Prograis. I believe this fight will go to distance with both fighters having their moments. I will take Taylor by split decision in a very close fight.