Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis lived up to the hype today in London, putting on a competitive, high-level main event in the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament final, with two world title belts on the line.
Taylor emerged victorious over Prograis, winning a majority decision on scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 117-112, unifying the IBF and WBA junior welterweight titles and winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Bad Left Hook had the fight 114-114 and 116-112 for Taylor.
Taylor (16-0, 12 KO) and Prograis (24-1, 20 KO) both proved their quality at the highest level, but of the two, it was probably Taylor who did deserve the nod, so there’s no real complaints about the scoring here.
Prograis, 30, was fighting on the road against the Scotsman, and gave a great effort, but in the middle rounds he seemed to cede momentum to the 28-year-old Taylor, and had to battle extremely hard in the final two rounds to keep things close, but ultimately it just wasn’t quite enough.
It was an entertaining and even more than that compelling fight from start to finish. On the whole, it felt like Taylor deserved the win, but fights are scored by round and there was enough for Prograis to argue for a draw if not a win, which could make a potential rematch down the line interesting.
“What a fight. All respect to Regis Prograis on a great fight, but the best man won,” Taylor said, after joking that it was “a walk in the park,” while only able to see through one eye, the other one swollen into a gruesome mass.
“He was very good, very strong. Very good head movement, very good timing,” Taylor said of Prograis. “He lives up to his name. He exceeds his reputation with his power, definitely. He has great timing. Respect to him.”
Taylor said he’d be up for a full unification of titles with WBC/WBO beltholder Jose Ramirez, who is currently on the shelf with an injury and expected to face mandatory challenger Viktor Postol when he returns in early 2020, but that fight could certainly happen by next summer.
Prograis was gracious in defeat during his post-fight interview, and received cheers from the remaining crowd.
“It was a close fight. I know he was at home, so I knew it’d be close. But the better man won tonight, so it’s cool,” Prograis said. “I thought it was pretty even, to be honest, until the last three rounds, then I caught up. But he won. I can’t say nothing about it. I can’t give no excuses, the better man won tonight. No excuses at all.”
“I definitely enjoyed that. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it,” Prograis said of taking part in one of the best fights of the year. “Hopefully we come back and do part two and make $20 million.”