Matchroom Boxing have officially announced a big Oct. 26 card at London’s O2 Arena, headlined by the 140-pound title unification and World Boxing Super Series tournament final between Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor.
Prograis (24-0, 20 KO) has the WBA title at 140 pounds, while Scotland’s Taylor (15-0, 12 KO) holds the IBF belt. The two are also considered the top two at the weight by most, though Jose Ramirez has certainly made his own case as holder of the WBC and WBO titles, and it’s one of the best possible fights in boxing.
There was some worry that the 30-year-old Prograis, a New Orleans native now based in Houston, was going to pull out of the tournament. The WBSS has had a lot of “close call” issues this year, and Prograis’ was the latest. But in the end, we’re getting the fight we all want.
“I’m very excited to get everything settled for this fight,” said Prograis. “This is the fight I wanted the most and it’s the fight to prove who is the best in the division. My goal has always been the same and that’s to prove I’m the best 140-pound fighter in the world and to become undisputed.”
He also praised his opponent.
“Taylor is in my opinion is the second-best 140-pounder in the world after myself. He had two great performances leading into the finals and I’m looking forward to fighting the best Josh Taylor on Oct. 26.”
Taylor, 28, is the slightly younger man, and he’ll be much closer to home in London.
“I’m massively excited,” said Taylor. “I want to prove that I’m the best in the division by taking on the best fighters. Now it’s finally over the line I can concentrate on getting to work in the gym and going full steam ahead again.
“I’m very confident that I can outbox him and outfight him as well, I can’t see anything other than a Josh Taylor win on Oct. 26. It will be a huge buzz to fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy in front of a huge crowd at the O2. I believe that I am the best fighter in the division and now it’s time to prove it.”
The show will also feature a heavyweight clash between Dereck Chisora and former WBO titleholder Joseph Parker.
Chisora (31-9, 22 KO) is 35 years old, so he’s toward the back end of his career in theory, but the veteran battler just keeps hanging around. Following a knockout loss last December to Dillian Whyte, Chisora has won two straight, shutting out Senad Gashi in April and knocking out Artur Szpilka in July.
Parker (26-2, 20 KO) is 27 and still a top 10 sort of guy in the division, but his last two wins — over Alexander Flores and Alex Leapai — have been pretty well made to order following back-to-back losses to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in 2018.
Chisora has been barking about this fight for a while, and he’s glad to get it.
“I’ve wanted this fight over a year now, Parker the Aussie kangaroo fled for the bush once already this year, complaining he didn’t have enough time to prepare,” said Chisora. “I’ve now given him all the time he needed. I’m a real fighter, I’m always ready to go to WAR. Szpilka felt what Dereck ‘WAR’ Chisora is all about, and he was my friend, and trust me that was just 30 percent of what I’ve got ready for that Aussie bum.
“I’m gonna to do what Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz both couldn’t do, I’m gonna knock Parker’s dingo ass clean out, and send this Aussie chump back to the other side of the planet, where he belongs.”
Parker has had mixed results in the United Kingdom, with the two losses and a 2017 win over Hughie Fury in Manchester.
“Chisora will come with experience and he will come with pressure,” said Parker. “He’s coming off two good wins, so he’ll be full on confidence and out to make a statement. As always, I back myself against any fighter on this planet and I’m expecting an exciting war on Oct. 26.
“I’ve always had a lot of love and support from my UK fans and I can’t wait for my return. A win here takes me another step towards targeting the other top names in the division and becoming a two-weight World Champion.”
Reigning British and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie (13-0, 10 KO) will look to add more hardware on the bill, as he challenges European champion Yves Ngabu (20-0, 14 KO) of Belgium. And a pair of former world titleholders, Ricky Burns (43-7-1, 16 KO) and Lee Selby (27-2, 9 KO), will meet in a lightweight matchup.
The show will air on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom, and stream live on DAZN in the United States.