Prograis vs. Taylor Review including undercard
By Dan Bartlett: So, has everyone caught there breath yet? I’ve only just managed to surface after watching Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor on Saturday night. What an enthralling contest it was between two fighters operating at the top of their trade.
Prograis vs. Taylor
Although Taylor came away with victory and all that comes with it. He didn’t have it all his own way in there. The opening two rounds could have been scored either way. Both fighters trading on the inside but neither wanting to give anything away. It was then that Prograis seemed to find his rhythm. Between rounds three and five, Prograis found his range with the jab and was going about his work on the outside as he usually does. Taylor was was finding it increasingly difficult to walk down Prograis. Who was dictating the pace from the centre of the ring and looking a million dollars.
But it was at the end of this period of the fight where Taylor must have caught the American flush and you saw blood come from the nose of Prograis. A broken nose perhaps? It was from around the midway point of the fight that Prograis began to slow down. Maybe he was struggling to breath due to that potential broken nose? We don’t know but Taylor began to take advantage, landing the jab more frequently and was landing now with more spite behind his shots. Although Prograis was finding a way through the defence of Taylor. It was now the Scotsman who was dominating center ring and had a spring in his step.
In the lead up to the championship rounds, Taylor was roughing Prograis up. Particularly targeting the body as the American was visibly starting to feel the pace. I had Taylor up on my card and I actually said that he only needed to box his way through the championship rounds to win. Not expecting Prograis to come out in round eleven and twelve with the fire that he did. He came out in round eleven like a true champion and landed two or three bombs on the chin of Taylor. Who landed heavy artillery of his own during the penultimate round. The same again in the final round. Neither fighter backing off the accelerator. Taylor, who was virtually fighting with one eye since the tenth round. Still coming forward, still landing punches, as was Prograis.
The final bell rang and both fighters raised their hands. It’s not often I say this but if you could award both fighters the win, I would have. Both fighters did enough to win any other fight but on the night they came up against the best in one another. It was certainly a contender for fight of the year. A close call between this and Spence v Porter. The scorecards read 114-114, 115-113 and 117-112 in favor of Josh Taylor. Leaving him basking in the glory of becoming unified super-lightweight world champion and winner of the World Boxing Super Series. For me, Taylor deserved the win. It was close but I scored it 115-113 in favour of Taylor. I’m not entirely sure what Matteo Montella was watching. To score that bout 117-112 is a total discredit to Regis Prograis.
The last thing I will say about Prograis vs Taylor is that these two great champions have now set an incredible benchmark for the whole of the boxing world. This was the best vs the best. They didn’t find any excuses. This is a message to fighters and promoters around the world. Don’t wait until a fighter or both are too old. Make these super fights while both are in their prime and this is what you get. Fight of the year contenders.
Chisora vs Price
Well, this one went the way I expected. Dereck Chisora came out in round one and immediately was going after David Price who managed to keep ‘Delboy’ at bay for the first two rounds. However it was at the end of the third where Price was saved by the bell almost and you just knew that Chisora would come out hunting in round 4. That is exactly what Chisora did, landing sweetly on the inside and Price was left on the canvas. He managed to get back to his feet but Price’s corner did feel he was fit to continue. Probably rightfully so, as you know that Chisora would have jumped all over Pricey and it could have ended quite horribly.
Chisora rolls on, now unbeaten in his last three fights, asking for a big fight next. Demanding “Miller, Usyk or Parker” next. I would personally be happy to see Chisora fight any of those three fighters. The Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller fight would be a spectacle and expect fireworks inside and out of the ring. Oleksandr Usyk is intriguing but you’d expect the Ukrainian to be able to pick off Chisora and Joseph Parker would be another great fight!
Burns vs Selby
This was a bout I was intrigued to watch. Ricky Burns, somebody who’s had a fantastic career, but not getting any younger. Against Lee Selby, who looked like the step up in weight last time out really suited him.
Selby, who for the first six rounds danced around Burns and was landing a higher volume of punches. His movement was eye-catching too. Burns looking rather static and getting beaten to the punch by Selby. However it was highlighted down the stretch that Selby’s punch power at lightweight is questionable. Although he was landing the greater amount of punches. Burns was able to soak them up and take them. This was evident in the later rounds where Burns was able to dominate at center ring and try and bully a tiring Selby but it wasn’t enough to impress the judges.
Selby came away the winner by majority decision. 115-115, 116-112 and 116-113. He probably deserved it but I think it’s now time for Burns to have one last dance and get the recognition he deserves.
Okolie vs Ngabu
A lot is expected of Lawrence Okolie. He’s a a huge cruiserweight and we all know he possesses incredible power. However, as I’ve previously highlighted he gets heavily criticized for his fighting style. Often his fights have a lot of clinching and ref’s are often criticized for not cutting it out.
However, you can’t look beyond what Okolie has achieved in his short professional career. After Saturday’s stoppage victory his record is 14-0. He’s now European champion along with the Continental and British title he has already acquired. He stopped Yves Ngabu on Saturday night with relative ease and I have no doubt he’ll go onto bigger things in 2020. Maybe even a world title shot? You can already see the changes Shane McGuigan has made with Okolie but I do think that referee’s will be told to stop him clinching. It will be then when we see what Okolie is really made of but, with a bit of work, he’ll be world champion next year.