Josh Taylor says Regis Prograis will go down once he hits him hard
By Tim Royner: Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis meet next Saturday night on October 26 in the WBSS light welterweight final at the O2 Arena in London,England. This is a fight for all the marbles in the World Boxing Super Series 140-lb tournament. They’re headlining the card on Sky Box Office and DAZN.
During the Gloves are Off meeting between the two, Taylor brought up a meeting the two had in a casino in which he playfully put Prograis in a headlock. It appeared that he was trying to make it sound like it was a serious thing. Prograis looked shocked that Taylor was trying to make it sound like it was a serious scuffle.
The winner of next Saturday’s unification fight between Taylor, 28, and Prograis could be heading towards stardom. This fight could lead to much bigger ones in the future, but it’ll likely require that they move up to 147. The 140-lb division lacks the names for the Taylor-Prograis winner to fight for the big money fights.
The victor picks up the Muhammad Ali Trophy, as well as the Ring Magazine belt. Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) will have his IBF title on the line, while Prograis will be defending his WBA and WBC Diamond titles
Prograis and Taylor met on The Gloves are Off, and went back and forth in analyzing their fight. It was interesting to watch with the way the arguing sounded almost like a schoolyard trash talking session. Prograis did most of the talking. Taylor looked angry at times, but then settled in and appeared amused in listening to Prograis talk himself up.
Taylor says Prograis didn’t want to fight in the UK
“I don’t believe you have the chance to beat me at range or up close,” said Taylor to The Gloves are Off in speaking about Prograis. “I didn’t believe he wanted to come here. You’re the superstar, building yourself up, and that’s your downfall.
If Taylor fights like he did against Ivan Baranchyk, it’s going to be hard for Prograis to beat him. Taylor was a slippery eel in the Baranchyk fight, moving constantly, jabbing and throwing single power shots. It was a purely defensive style from Taylor until the second half of the fight. Prograis, 30, didn’t look that great in his fight against Terry Flanagan in his quarterfinal fight in the WBSS tourney. He’ll need to fight a lot better for him to beat a guy like Taylor. Prograis, 5’8″, is giving away two inches in height and reach to the 5’10” Taylor. That could be significant.
Prograis: Taylor has more pressure on him
“There’s nobody else I wanted to fight in my career right now,” said Prograis about Taylor. “I’m just feeling so confident, and so ready. I feel like it’s going to make me, and that’s why I came over here. And, I always wanted to fight in the UK, believe it or not.
“Look how big the fight is now at the O2 here. I feel like there’s more pressure on him. He’s got all his people from Scotland coming. The pressure is on him to win. I’m going out there to perform, and have fun like I always do. When you’re fighting in front of your people, there’s more pressure than when you’re fighting away,” said Prograis.
In looking at Taylor’s fights in the UK, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by pressure from fighting in his country. If anything, Taylor will fight better with the crowd behind him in London. If Taylor is going to lose, it won’t be due to the pressure from his own boxing fans. The only way he loses if Prograis is able to knock him out.
Prograis can be intimidated says Taylor
Taylor: “I can see right through it. And I can see it in your eyes. I think you can be intimidated in the ring.”
Prograis: “You can’t see nothing in my eyes. And you see confidence in my eyes. Yeah, you’re going to get it.”
Taylor: “In the casino, I put you in a headlock, and you didn’t know what to do.”
Prograis: “Come on, Josh. Don’t start that. It was all jokes and games. It was nothing serious. You know that.”
Taylor: “I’m just letting you know that I’m ready to go at any time.”
Prograis: “Let me know what? It was all friendly and stuff. Don’t say it was a serious thing. What are you letting me know? You were letting me know how friendly you are. Is that what you were letting me know? I never cared about intimidating my opponents. This is all cool, but this isn’t going to win the fight. Your eyes looking at me and all that, talking and making like mean faces. That don’t win fights.”
Taylor: “I don’t make mean faces.”
Prograis: “Sometimes you try to make hard faces and all this. That don’t win fights. All the talking, that doesn’t win fights. So for me, I never tried to intimidate anybody. I say what’s on my mind. The only thing that matters is the fight. Nothing else.”
Taylor was giving Prograis menacing looks during the Glove are Off session. It’s interesting that Taylor denied making the faces when Prograis pointed that out. But after that, Taylor calmed down, and stopped glaring at him in an intimidating manner.
Josh says he beats Prograis in every department
Taylor: “I just think I’m better than in every department. He knows that. A better boxer, a better fighter. I can do all that. And I can go on the front foot, I can go on the back foot and I can fight. I can do it all. I think I’m better than him in every department.”
Prograis: “I feel I can beat him inside and outside. You have 15 fights. In all 15 fights, you look the same. I have 24 fights. In all my fights, I look different.”
Taylor: “You haven’t fought anyone. You’ve fought bums.”
Prograis: “Yes, I think I’m the winner and the superstar. After the fight, you’re still going to be a real good fighter, but you’re not going to beat me. You’re still going to be one of Scotland’s finest, but you’re not going to beat me. I just can’t see it. I’m not trying to be cocky or arrogant. I just can’t see how you can possibly beat me. I got too much to offer, and too much skill.”
Taylor has the size, power and skills to win this fight going away, but he’ll need to stay on the outside as much as possible. Prograis is dangerous when he gets inside, and he’ll have the advantage if he can fight him in close on Saturday. Taylor’s movement, jab and hard shots will make it hard for Prograis to get near enough to land.
Josh thinks Prograis’ ego has gotten out of hand
Taylor: “You think you’re a superstar already.”
Prograis: “No, I don’t. I don’t think I’m there. I got a lot of proving to do, but you’re the first notch.”
Taylor: “You’re going to be a disappointed boy.Anyway it goes. I believe I can beat him in any department. I’m training for a real hard 12 rounds. But I’ve got the potential to knock him out, and I think I can.”
It does sound like Prograis is already seeing himself as a star despite the fact that his best wins of his short career have come against flawed fighters. Thus far, Prograis has beaten Julius Indongo, Terry Flanagan and Kiryl Relikh. Those fighters aren’t considered the upper level elite at 140. Flanagan was a very good lightweight, but he’s not the same guy at light welterweight that he was at 135. He’s not a hard enough hitter to be among the best at light welterweight.
Taylor’s size doesn’t matter says Prograis
Prograis: I just do me. I can’t see how he can beat me. I feel like it don’t matter. The height, the reach, none of that. I feel like it doesn’t matter. Power, speed, none of that stuff. The heart, the chin. I don’t feel like none of that stuff is going to matter. The tale of the tape isn’t what it’s about. He can be taller.
“He’s definitely taller than me, and he’s longer than me, of course. Does he hit harder than me? We don’t know. Nobody can judge that. Even if he has every physical advantage, I still can’t see him beating me. Even if he hits harder, and has a stronger chin, better feet and better speed, I still can’t see how he can beat me.”
Taylor: “Of course, he’s stoppable. I believe if I hit him direct, he’s going to go down. Don’t ask me how I’m going to do it. I’m just going to win.”
Size does matter in boxing. Prograis will need to be aggressive, and go after Taylor the entire fight for him to have a shot at winning. In Taylor’s semifinal match in the WBSS tourney against Baranchyk, he was like a matador fighting a bull.