Yet another of America’s great amateurs has elected to take the professional plunge. Top Rank today announced the signing of top featherweight Duke Ragan, who will make his professional debut on the August 22nd Eleider Alvarez-Joe Smith Jr. undercard.
“This opportunity means the world to me,” Ragan said. “Since I didn’t go to the Olympics, becoming a world champion is my next goal. My jab, counterpunching ability, and stamina are more suited to the pro game. When I fought with headgear, I was hurting guys but not knocking them out. You’ll see more knockouts from me as a pro.”
“It’s finally my time to shine. I’m proud to be from Cincinnati, and I know bringing home a world championship will put me up there with the top dogs from my city.”
Said Bob Arum, Top Rank chairman: “Cincinnati has produced countless great fighters, and we believe Duke Ragan will be the next world champion from the ‘Queen City.’ He is mature beyond his years, and with Kay Koroma, James Prince and Antonio Leonard on his team, he has a wonderful support system.”
Ragan, 22, claimed silver at the 2017 World Championships and the 2019 Pan-American Games among other impressive accomplishments. He unfortunately fell short at the Olympic Trials thanks to Bruce Carrington, which almost certainly contributed to his decision to go pro rather than wait for a remote chance at the 2021 Games.
He joins countrymen Jared Anderson and Marc Castro in the paid ranks. Though he could technically get a few pro fights in and still make a bid for Tokyo, like Eumir Marcial, I wouldn’t count on it.