WBSS quarter-finals: Regis Prograis vs. Terry Flanagan & Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin
By Allan Fox: On Friday, the World Boxing Super Series announced the quarter-finals match-ups of the 118 and 140-lb tourneys with interim WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis defending against former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan, and unbeaten Josh Taylor facing undefeated Ryan Martin getting a lot of attention. The fights will be in September or October.
Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) selected the recently beaten Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs) for their quarterfinals fight. The choice for Prograis was to select from unbeaten #6 WBC Ryan Martin or the better known former WBO lightweight world champion Terry Flanagan, who is coming off of a 12 round split decision loss Maurice Hooker last month on June 9 in Manchester, England.
Flanagan, 29, is already seen as the loser in his quarterfinals fight against Prograis. Few boxing fans believe the 5’9” Flanagan to have any chance against the hard-hitting Prograis, even though he gave Maurice Hooker a tough fight in his last match. Prograis is a harder puncher than Hooker, and he’s looking like he could be the guy to be the ultimate winner of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tourney.
Prograis has stopped his last seven fights since 2015, and he seems like he’s getting better and better with each fight. In Prograis’ last match, he defeated little known Juan Jose Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs) by an 8th round knockout this month on July 14 at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prograis received criticism from boxing fans for taking a lot of shots from Velasco before stopping him in the 8th, but it’s unclear whether he was trying hard to knock him out. If Prograis was trying to KO Velasco, then he was facing a guy with an excellent chin because he took his best shots before he was pulled out. Velasco appeared to want out of the fight by as early as the 6th, but he was left out there until the 8th before his trainers stopped the fight.
Flanagan is going to need to show better stamina and power against Prograis than he did against Hooker if he wants to have his hand raised at the end of it. Of all the competitors in the quarterfinals, Flanagan has the worst the match-up. Flanagan’s confidence will likely be at an all-time low when he gets inside the ring with Prograis. The timing for the fight is especially bad for Flanagan. When Flanagan was fighting at 135, he had the size and weight advantage over his opponents. In effect, Flanagan was considered a weight bully by a lot of boxing fans. He was not only taller, but also heavier than his shorter opponent. But that was always going to be something that would be short-lived, as once Flanagan could no maker weight for the lightweight division as he aged, then he would finally need to fight guys his own size and find another way to win his fights. He would need to adapt in other words. Thus far, Flanagan still hasn’t adapted to the light welterweight division. It’s going to be baptism under fire for Flanagan when he gets inside the ring with Prograis in September or October. The good news for Flanagan is Prograis is the same age as him at 29, so he’s not going to be fighting a younger guy. The bad news is Prograis is a much better puncher and has more talent and is an overall better fighter of the two.
In other match-ups in the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament:
Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin – This is the guy that Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs) requested. He wanted to fight the 25-year-old Martin (22-0, 12 KOs). Is this a mistake on Taylor’s part? This may prove to be a more difficult fight for Taylor than his previous one against former WBC 140-pound champion Viktor Postol (29-2, 12 KOs), who he beat by a 12 round unanimous decision on June 23 in Glasgow, Scotland. This is going to be a hard fight for Taylor, as the 5’11” Martin has just much size as Postol but a lot more punching power. Martin is a lot younger than the 34-year-old Postol, so this is going to be a much different type of fight for Taylor. He was able to count on not much coming back from Postol in terms of punching power. Martin has the kind of power that could get Taylor’s attention if he proves rugged enough to take the contest into the second half of the fight. Many boxing fans believe Taylor has enough talent to win the WBSS tournament. For him to do that. he’ll need to find a way to get past Prograis. The two of them are expected to face each other in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. That’s cruel luck on Taylor’s part to get the toughest opponent in the tournament in Prograis. The good thing about it is that Taylor will be getting it over with right away. He won’t need to wait until the finals before having to deal with Prograis. Taylor might be still licking his wounds from the Ryan Martin fight by the time he meets up with Prograis, and that’s going to make it tough. Taylor had a hard enough time in his last fight getting past Postol in Glasgow last June. Martin is going to get his pound of flesh in that fight. If Taylor wins, it’s not going to come easy. Martin is going to take something out of him. It won’t be surprising if Taylor comes up short in this fight. If the Taylor-Martin fight takes place in Glasgow, then of course he’ll be extremely hard to beat.
Kiryl Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovskiy WBA World light welterweight champion Relikh gets relatively easy quarterfinals fight against former IBF 140-lb. champion Troyanovskiy. Relikh has improved recently in beating Rances Barthelemy in their rematch. The Belarusian figher looked a lot better than in their previous fight last year. It was a different fighter than the one that was beaten in the first fight and lost to Ricky Burns.
Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit This is a good match-up between the young, powerful Baranchyk and Yigit, who has excellent skills. Baranchyk figures to win this fight with his punching power, but it should be interesting while it lasts.