Regis Prograis sees victory over Josh Taylor making him a superstar
By Jim Dower: Regis Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) is predicting that he’ll reach super stardom after he defeats Josh Taylor this month on October 26 in their big light welterweight unification match on DAZN and Sky Sports Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
WBA light welterweight champion Prograis believes that a victory over IBF champion Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) this month will be a springboard for him being transformed into a star, as well as putting him on the pound-for-pound list.
Prograis-Taylor are fighting in the final of the World Boxing Super Series 140-lb tournament. The Muhammad Ali Trophy, Ring Magazine title, as well as the IBF and WB light welterweight titles belts will be up for grabs.
Prograis: My style will give Josh Taylor fits
“I’m ready to go,” said Prograis to Boxing Social. “I would never go to 135. Someone asked me if I would go to 135, and I said, ‘No, I would never got to 135.’ I would only go up, not down. If you look at all my opponents, most of them have been bigger than me. Indongo was actually bigger than Josh Taylor. He was taller. He had an awkward style too. Size never made a difference to me anyway. I always fought guys bigger than me.
“No telling,” said Prograis when asked why he’s the favorite to beat Taylor from the UK bookmakers. “Maybe they saw me train or maybe they saw my knockout power. There’s no telling, but I always thought I was the favorite anyway. Even if the bookmakers had me not the favorite, I always thought I was the favorite. I just think my style will give him fits,” said Prograis.
Prograis, 30, feels that he doesn’t have a particular style, as he adjusts constantly during his fights to give his opponents different looks. Additionally, he never fights the same way. For that reason, he believes that the slightly younger 28-year-old Taylor won’t be able to prepare for his style. When you have a constantly changing fighting style, then that’s something that fighters can’t train for. That’s why Prograis is counting on, and he believes he’s going to give his 5’10” opponent all kinds of issues.
Regis raves about his sparring partner Austin Williams
“It wasn’t hard at all,” said Prograis when asked if he had problems finding a sparring partner. “One of my sparring partners is a 154 pounder. He’s an Olympian. He’s super good. I actually sparred with him for the Terry Flanagan fight. He got me ready, and has a really awkward style. He pushes the hell out of me. Another one of my sparring partners is right there, Austin Williams. He’s 160-pounder.
“He’s definitely bigger than Josh Taylor, and he’s stronger than Josh Taylor. I guarantee that he’s faster than Josh Taylor, and he’s young and he’s strong. I’ve been sparring him, and I know. I don’t know if you’ve seen him fight, but that dude is explosive, and on top of that, he fights at 160 pounds. So for me it was [easy]. I brought him over here [to the UK], and on top of that, he’s fighting on the undercard. So it was perfect,” said Prograis.
In training for the Taylor fight, Prograis has been middleweight knockout artist Austin “Ammo” Williams (3-0, 3 KOs) as his sparring partner. The 5’11” Williams is like a taller, stronger and more explosive version of welterweight Errol Spence Jr. Not many boxing fans know about the 23-year-old Williams, but he’s someone that is going to be a name in the future. If Williams fought at welterweight, he would be unstoppable. It wouldn’t be fair.
Prograis feels that Taylor can’t compare with the size, power and explosiveness of what he’s been dealing with during training with the southpaw ‘Ammo’ Williams. Prograis is obviously correct. Taylor doesn’t have the same power or the size of Williams. The sparring sessions between Prograis and Williams had to been have been interesting, because there’s a definite difference between the two. Williams is a seek and destroy type of fighter, who goes to the body as well as to the head. Taylor is going to be a lot easier for Prograis to handle than the sparring he’s been getting with Ammo Williams.
Prograis says he wasn’t afraid to fight Taylor in UK
“I made sure that I came over here early,” said Prograis. “The weather, the food, the culture, the people, and of course the time difference. I made that investment. It was out of my own pocket to come over here early, and that’s what I did, and I’m glad I did. That was a big laugh for me that I was scared [to come to the UK to fight Josh Taylor]. At the time with all the issues with the WBSS. It was going through litigation with my lawyers at the time. Sorry, you can’t say nothing. People were writing me on my DMs, ‘You scared, and you s— your pants’ and all that. I just got to read.
“I’m a talker, so for me, I have to reply to stuff, but I couldn’t. The main thing to get back at everybody is ‘I’m here, and if I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t have came. It’s early as I came. I would have came here two days before the fight like Ivan Baranchyk did, and get out of here [Glasgow, Scotland]. For me, I’m going to be here for a month, because after the fight, I’m going to stay for five more days after that. It’s just me letting people know that I’m not scared of nobody. Josh was talking all this s— about how I was scared of him, and all that stuff, because of what went on with the WBSS,” said Prograis.
Prograis is amused that Taylor thought that he was afraid to come over to the UK to fight him. That likely played a part in Prograis’ decision to come over to the UK rather than insisting that the fight take place on neutral ground.
Prograis says Josh Taylor is his “dream fight”
“For me, I always told him that I wanted to fight him,” said Prograis about Taylor. “There’s no other fight that I want in my career except for him. Right now, there’s no other fight, because we’re #1 and #2, and we’re fighting for the Ali Trophy, and the Ring belt, my belt and his belt, and on top of that, I have a personal letter from the WBC that I have the Diamond belt also.
“So after that, the winner has a mandatory shot at [WBC light welterweight champion] Jose Ramirez. So for me there’s too much on the line. There was no way that I was going to shy away from all that stuff. For me, it’s a dream fight. It’s a dream come true to me. I always wanted to come fight in the UK, and after this fight, it’s going to be super stardome. It’ll definitely be pound-for-pound list, and super stardome will come next.
Let everybody talk, but they can see I’m here. There’s no way I’m shying away from that. I always say he’s the best in the world at 140 after me. I feel like he was the best. Even before the tournament was announced, I still felt like he was the best. I felt like I was #1, he was #2, and Ramirez was #3, and [Maurice] Hooker was #4. So to me, nothing has changed. I still feel like it was the same order right now,” said Prograis.
Fighting an unbeaten fighter with Olympic credentials that Josh Taylor has is something that makes it interesting for Prograis, because he’s facing a real talent. That’s what Prograis wanted. He wants to beat someone that will raise his stock in the boxing world, and Taylor is the guy that he needs to be fighting.
Prograis wanted Taylor fight in UK
“There’s definitely respect for Josh He’s a world champion, and he’s fought some good opponents,” said Prograis. “He’s fought the same guys as me. Former world champions, undefeated fighters, and we beat all of them. So I definitely respect him. I always wanted to come over here. I look at it like Errol Spence. He came over here, and he broke that super star mold when he fought Kell Brook over here. I feel like world champion means world. You fight all over the world, and that’s what I always wanted to do.
“I always told myself, when I get a world title, I’m going to fight all over the world. I know I’m going to fight all over the world. This fight [against Josh Taylor] could have been anywhere, but they told me it was going to be here, and I said, ‘yeah.’ They actually gave me a few other places, and I feel like this is the best place to fight right now, especially for me career. This is the best place to fight. It’s going to be packed, so I jumped at the opportunity,” said Prograis.
If Prograis can beat Taylor in the UK in front of his own boxing fans, he’ll be making a big statement. At the same time, a victory for Prograis in that part of the world will win him some fans.