We see the conclusion of the Light-Welterweight World Boxing Super Series this weekend, when Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis battle it out for the WBA, IBF, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles, in addition to the prestigious Muhammad Ali trophy this Saturday live at the O2 in London.
This has been the fight I have been most excited for all year, without a shadow of a doubt, as I truly am a massive fan of both fighters. The styles gel impeccably; Taylor, with his great hand speed and terrific foot movement, which has no doubt been aided by his years practising Taekwondo, in which he is a black belt, and the raw power and relentless style Prograis has used so efficiently up to this point. It’s a 50/50 fight, and it’s the best vs the best in the division. The clash of the two styles set the stage in what can surely be nothing but a fight of the year candidate, especially considering what is on the line in terms of the titles and life-changing money.
From the previews I have seen from others, many are favouring Taylor for the win, citing the higher standard of opposition he has faced. Granted, he was an Olympian and had a great amateur career, and he has had some superb wins in his fifteen professional fights so far. There was the derailing of the Ohara Davies hype train, a solid win over former world champ Vasquez and the standout win of his career so far, a comfortable points win against Viktor Postol, who’s only other blemish was against pound for pound star Terence Crawford.
In the Postol fight, Taylor proved he could both mix it at the elite level and could navigate tricky moments in a fight, which he had to do when he was hurt by Postol. He recovered well and went onto drop Postol and finished the fight strongly. Before the Postol bout, we felt Taylor was a special talent; the result confirmed it. It set him in good stead for the Super Series, in which he and Prograis were the standout picks from the moment it was announced. A wipeout of Ryan Martin in the quarters and a comfortable win against Ivan Baranchyk, in which Taylor picked up the IBF belt, in the semis followed, and led him nicely to this point.
Although Taylor’s resume is admittedly impressive, I wouldn’t sleep on Prograis. His arrival in the final was proceeded by a comfortable win against ex-WBO Lightweight champ Terry Flanagan, and then a whooping of Kiryl Relikh in which he took home the WBA title and retained the WBC Diamond. The best win, however, has to be the victory he took over former unified Light-Welter champ Julius Indongo. I was impressed with Indongo after his surprise knock-out of Troyanovsky in Russia, and then the comfortable beating of three-weight world champ Ricky Burns in Scotland, despite some awful scorecards that night. Like Postol, Indongo’s only other loss also come to Terence Crawford, which like Taylor, confirms Prograis’s status as an elite fighter.
Whilst both have similar pedigrees, and similar wins in terms of the opponent’s calibre, I have one concern. Prograis is hard-hitting, has phenomenal work rate and is yet to be hurt. Whilst Taylor is fast, accurate, has great feet and can also bang himself, we have seen him hurt by Postol, who is not known to be the biggest puncher. My concern is if he is caught by someone who hits as hard and furiously as Prograis does, will he be given the time to recover, and will he be able to, especially if the fight has not gone all his own way? There will be questions Prograis will ask of Taylor, in a way we have not seen before, and if he has the answers, I feel Taylor’s superior boxing ability should see him navigate his way to a points victory. If not, I can see Prograis stopping Taylor, or forcing the referee to jump in and wave off the fight late on. It really could go either way.
On a side note, I was particularly dejected when the co-main event was cancelled after Joseph Parker pulled out through injury. I was intrigued to see how Chisora faired against an elite heavyweight, given the fact he has looked particularly impressive in the majority of his recent fights in the past year and a half, particularly against Takam, Whyte and Szpilka.
While David Price is an interesting opponent to step in, I do feel Chisora will stop Price. Despite Price enjoying a bit of a purple patch in his career, his wins over Tom Little, Kash Ali and Dave Allen lie at a lower level to the one Chisora has been fighting at. I like both Price and Chisora, but I just feel this may be Price’s final stand, for which I hope he is paid handsomely. Chisora, on the other hand, is seemingly being lined to fight some of the many elite heavyweights Matchroom, Eddie Hearn and DAZN have on their rosters, and these are the sort of fights I will expect to see him in if he does win on Saturday.
Whatever happens, I am convinced the main fight will be a great advert for the sport of boxing, and hopefully, both fighters and all those on the undercard will walk away safely, particularly after the sad events of last weekend in which Patrick Day passed away after his fight in Chicago.
By Aaron Ludford for SimBoxx 🥊
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