By: Hans Themistode
The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) was over before it even began. When the field of 8 participants was first announced, it was one helluva field.
Champions such as Kiryl Relikh and Ivan Baranchyk brought plenty of attention to the tournament. While undefeated contenders in Josh Taylor and Anthony Yigit brought interesting value as well. Even the more unknown commodities such as Eduard Troyanovsky, Terry Flanagan and Ryan Martin brought their own flair to the table as well.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
A case could be made for each and everyone of them that they could walk away with the Muhammad Ali trophy in their possession at the end of this tournament.
None of those cases however, were as strong as the one for Regis Prograis.
At the commencement of this tournament, Prograis did not have a title to his name, unless you count the WBC interim championship which isn’t truly a title but more so a belt which signifies that you are the mandatory challenger for the champion. All Prograis had was an undefeated record, a ton of star power and other worldly stills in the ring.
There was a reason why even with a stacked field, that Prograis was chosen to be the last man standing.
Things were going according to plan at the beginning of this tournament. His first round contest against Terry Flanagan could barely be called one. Prograis dominated the action from start to finish. It was much of the same in his next round matchup as he dismantled Kiryl Relikh to the tune of a 6th round stoppage victory. In the process he would pick up his first world title as well.
His trip to the finals were booked and sealed. His opponent on the other side of the ring was Josh Taylor. A young, undefeated British fighter who was a champion in his own right. It was pegged to be a close fight, but one that Prograis would ultimately emerge victoriously from.
The two undefeated belt holders met in the ring this past Saturday night with everything on the line. It was a great contest. After watching it, many even felt as though it was the fight of the year. Following 12 rounds of non stop action, it was Taylor who emerged with the win. It was close, but the right decision was made.
“The better man won tonight,” said Prograis. “I’ll be back.”
The hype train of Prograis was a real thing. He was supposed to win the WBSS, then become the undisputed champion by defeating Jose Ramirez next year. From there, he would move up and make a ton of noise in the Welterweight division. This was the storyline for Prograis. Yet, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Let’s not lose sight of the talent that the now former champion has. At the age of 30, he is in the middle of his physical prime.
Josh Taylor is simply a better fighter than any of us gave him credit for.
Things didn’t go according to plan for Prograis, but if he can sit back and learn from this defeat, then he will reach the heights that we all expect from him.