The vacant Ring 140-pound championship is confirmed to be on the line when Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor meet in the WBSS Super-Lightweight Final for the Ali Trophy, The Greatest Prize in Boxing.
“The Ring 140-pound championship being at stake in this fight was a no-brainer,” said Tom Gray, Associate Editor and member of The Ring ratings panel. “It’s No. 1 versus No. 2 in The Ring rankings. It’s unbeaten champion versus unbeaten champion. It’s the best of the best.”
Previous holders of The Ring title at 140-pound include Antonio Cervantes, Wilfred Benitez, Aaron Pryor, Kostya Tszyu, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford. “It doesn’t get much bigger,” said Gray.
The legendary boxing magazine has awarded world championships within each weight class from its foundation in 1922.
“To be a Ring champion, that’s so big,” said WBA champ Prograis. “You get the Ring, you get the other belts and you get the Ali Trophy. That’s just, like, serious. People retire on the back of that sort of stuff, it’s history and legacy and that’s what I’m all about. I can’t wait for the final.”
Prograis booked his place in the final when he stopped WBA World champion Kiryl Relikh in the sixth round on April 26 in Lafayette, LA., USA.
Taylor defeated IBF World champion Ivan Baranchyk by a 12 round unanimous decision to advance last Saturday night in Glasgow, Scotland. The scores were 115-111, 117-109 and 115-111 after an action-packed semi-final where Taylor dropped the Belarusian twice in round six on his way to the win.
“The Ring belt definitely adds even more prestige to the final,” said Taylor, the IBF titleholder. “We are both winners, we have that mentality and we are both confident of winning everything at stake. But I just know I will lift the Ali Trophy and prove I’m the best in the division.”
The Super-Lightweight Final of the World Boxing Super Series, between the tournament No. 1 seed Prograis and 2 seed Taylor, will take place in the fall. Tournament organiser, Comosa AG, will announce date and venue in due course.
The WBSS returns on June 15 with a sensational doubleheader at the Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia: Mairis Briedis vs Krzysztof Glowacki and Yunier Dorticos vs Andrew Tabiti for spots in the cruiserweight final.
Regis Prograis to face Taylor vs. Baranchyk winner in WBSS final
The new WBA champion Regis Prograis was ‘flying high’ after outclassing Kiryl Relikh and booking his place in the 140lb final of the World Boxing Super Series.
Prograis is the WBA World Champion, the first New Orleans boxer to win a fully recognized world boxing championship since 1963, WBC Diamond Champion and Ring Magazine 140-pound No. 1. And now has his eyes on the greatest prize in boxing, the Ali Trophy after breaking down his opponent for a TKO in the 6th round Saturday at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA, USA.
The 30-year-old is collecting arguments for the legacy he wants to leave in the sport.
“For me, I’m flying right now. I’m in a dream right now,” said Prograis after clinching his first world title, the WBA belt. “I am now a world champion and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me. I do feel like I’m kind of special. I’m not gonna lie.
“Once we are all dead and gone I’ll still be there. I want to be up there and considered one of the greats, I am chasing immortality basically. I’ve studied all the greats like Joe Gans, Jack Johnson, Sugar Ray Robinson, they are dust and ashes, but we are still talking about them. For me, that’s what I am working towards. I can be one of my idols.”
Prograis’ trainer, Bobby Benton agreed his is working with a special talent.
“When I first started training him he was just a beast,” said Benton. “He would just walk everybody down. He wanted to fight every day. Every time he came to the gym to spar he just came in hands-up and beat you down. And then we started working and I realized he’s special. He’s got really good eyes and good defense. He doesn’t have to get hit. He has days in the gym when he doesn’t get touched. That to me is like, OK. Tonight he mixed it in. He mixed his offense with his defense and that’s where he needs to be.”
Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer, was impressed with what he saw: “One word; masterclass. It was a boxing masterclass, that was probably one of the most impressive statements I’ve seen in a professional boxing ring,” said Sauerland.
“Honestly, if anyone is going to be writing up a top-10 pound-for-pound list at this point that doesn’t have this man on it, at least moving into it, isn’t paying attention.”
Prograis is now (24-0) with 20 knockouts. As for Relikh now (23-3, 19 KOs), this was his first loss by KO.
“I’m not happy,” said Relikh. “It was truly not my day. I don’t know what happened. Regis, thanks. Good fight. Sorry this fight had to stop. Really not my day.”
In the final of the WBSS super-lightweight tournament, it is either going to be Scotland’ Josh Taylor or Belarus’ Ivan Baranchyk who will square off with the ‘Rougarou’.
When asked who Prograis wanted to see in the battle for the Ali Trophy, he said he’d pick Taylor but added: “It really doesn’t matter. I want to fight the best so I’ll fight either one of them. Whenever I get in the ring, I’m the boss. Whatever I do, I’m the boss.”
Tickets for the Monster WBSS Semi-Finals night, Ivan Baranchyk vs Josh Taylor and Naoya Inoue vs Emmanuel Rodriguez on 18 May at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland are on sale now from TheSSEHydro.com