Regis Prograis: There’s no pressure on me
By Charles Brun: WBA light welterweight champion Regis Prograis says he’s feeling zero pressure going into his unification fight next Saturday night against IBF champion Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) on October 26 at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
The two 140-pound champions are meeting up in the long awaited final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament on DAZN [in U.S] and Sky Box Office. The #1 tournament seed Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) is the favorite, but many boxing fans see the bout as a 50-50 match-up. That’s not the way the 30-year-old New Orleans, Louisiana native Prograis views the fight. He believes he’s the better fighter, and thinks Taylor feels the same way about him.
Prograis vs. Taylor represents a match between the #1 and #2 in the light welterweight division. The winner of this fight will be in a position to force the WBC/WBO 140-lb champion Jose Ramirez to face them. Prograis holds the WBC Diamond light welterweight title. He says World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman that he’ll be able to fight the WBC champ Ramirez next. Whether Ramirez’s promoters at Top Rank are willing to let that happen is unclear. They might choose to have Ramirez sidestep the Prograis-Taylor winner If Ramirez loses to those guys, Top Rank will need to try and rebuild somehow.
Prograis: Fans see this as a 50-50 fight
“I’m looking forward to it. When they told me it was going to be here in London, I jumped at it,” said Prograis to Pro Boxing Fans. “I didn’t even question it. That’s why I came here three weeks early to get adjusted to the weather, and time.
“There’s a lot of people who can’t wait for this fight. In my past fights, people thought I was going to walk through them. In this fight it’s different, because Josh Taylor is such a good fighter. A lot of people can’t wait for it. They feel it’s a 50-50 fight, and that’s what boxing needs,” said Prograis.
The way that Prograis has marched through his competition in the WBSS tourney, this fight isn’t a 50-50 match. Taylor is the clear underdog, and he’s going to have to figure out a way to compete in this fight. In Taylor’s toughest career fights against Ivan Baranchyk and Viktor Postol, he didn’t look so great. Taylor struggled against 35-year-old Postol last year, and appeared to win a close 12 round decision that was decided by a 10th round knockdown he scored. However, the judges gave Taylor the victory by the following wide scores: 117-110, 118-110 and 119-108.
The fight took place in Taylor’s hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. The judges were heavily criticized by the lopsided scores they turned in for a fight that was basically even.
Prograis not feeling pressure over Taylor fight
“There’s no pressure. I don’t feel no pressure,” said Prograis about Taylor. “After I go into the lion’s den, that’s when I’ll feel some pressure.
Prograis says he doesn’t care that he’s walking into the lion’s den in London, England to fight crowd favorite Taylor. He plans on schooling the taller 5’10” Taylor, and winning over the crowd. The naturally more charismatic Prograis has already impressed the British fans and media in the last week in coming over to the UK early, and making himself available for interviews.
Prograis’ down to earth manner has made him quite popular in a short period of time while he’s been in England. However, that doesn’t mean that Prograis will have the boxing fans on his side next Saturday. They’re still going to be cheering for Taylor, and hoping he can pull it off. That doesn’t bother Prograis though, as he likes the idea of fighting Taylor in his home territory. It’ll make it interesting for Prograis, who is accustomed to being seen as the favorite in his fights. Prograis intends on taking the judges out of play anyway.
Chisora could be in for a rude awakening if he pops off at Prograis
“If he says something, then maybe I’ll say something,” said Prograis about Dereck Chisora. “Next week, I’ll be losing weight, so maybe I won’t have enough energy to say nothing. But you never know. It depends on what he says and how I react to is. I have no plans on saying nothing to him, but with him, you never know how things go. I just keep improving and the sky’s the limit,” said Prograis.
The high level gatekeeper Dereck Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) is fighting British domestic level fighter David Price (25-6, 20 KOs) in a scheduled 12 round bout in the co-feature on the Prograis vs. Taylor card next Saturday. At an earlier news conference last month, Chisora, 35, made a fuss after learning that his fight wouldn’t be in the main event on October 26. Dereck felt that he was the one that the British boxing public would be tuning in to see on the night. Chisora and Prograis exchanged words during the press conference.
Chisora said this to Prograis during the press conference:
“The Muhammad Ali trophy, no one gives a f— about it no more. Nobody gives a f— about little guys anymore. They only give a f— about the heavyweight game. Nobody cares about you, bro. Don’t get me started, bro, or I’ll squash you. I don’t give a s—.
The only thing that Prograis said to Chisora was this: “We [Josh Taylor] number #1 and #2. We’re number one and number .”
Prograis didn’t mouth off to Chisora. He tried to explain to him why his fight with Taylor was made the main attraction on the card, but Chisora didn’t take it too well.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn chose instead to put the arguably far more appealing match-up between Prograis and Taylor in the headliner slot on the card. Hearn’s hands were tied, given that the card will be shown on DAZN. It would have looked bad with Chisora fighting Price in the main event on DAZN with NO world title on the line. The far more appealing fight between Prograis and Taylor would have looked out of place being put on the undercard. There’s a lot on the line for the Prograis-Taylor fight. Here’s what’s at stake:
- IBF & WBA light welterweight titles
- Ring Magazine 140-pound title
- Muhammad Ali Trophy for winner of WBSS 140-lb tourney
For Chisora to be fighting in the main event, he would need to be fighting an elite level heavyweight. Price, 36, doesn’t fit that category and neither did Chisora’s previously scheduled opponent Joseph Parker.