With the messy business issues between junior welterweight world titlist Regis Prograis and the organizers of the World Boxing Super Series resolved and Prograis having rejoined the tournament, he is as confident as ever that he will win the eight-man tournament final.
“I am not going to predict what round I will win. I am just going to go out there and do my thing,” Prograis said at the kickoff news conference for his unification fight with fellow titleholder Josh Taylor on Monday in London. “Just like I always say, I go out there and I have fun and I do my thing. If I hurt him or knock him out, I don’t know, but so far I have been dominating and that’s what I plan to do.
“This is No. 1 and No. 2, two undefeated fighters in their prime, both champions. Sometimes you have two champions but they’re not No.1 and No. 2, but this time it’s two prime undefeated guys. This is a huge show and I am so excited to be a part of it. Everybody that I have fought was supposed to be an even, 50-50 fight, but I dominated.
“He is taller and longer than me but the tale of the tape doesn’t matter to me. You can’t determine my hook by the tale of the tape or my boxing IQ. … I really cannot see how he can beat me. I am not being cocky or arrogant, but I just can’t see it. He’s been hurt in his last fight and he was dropped, too.”
After various delays and Prograis’ brief withdrawal from the tournament on Aug. 9 over contractual issues, he and promoter Lou DiBella dropped their lawsuit against tournament parent company Comosa AG, and Prograis on Aug. 31 rejoined the field for the final, which is scheduled for Oct. 26 (DAZN) at the O2 Arena in London.
“We are so glad that everything got sorted out,” Sam Katkovski, who accompanied Prograis to London, said at the news conference. “We cannot wait for Oct. 26. We are coming to fight and will be finishing our camp over here in the U.K. Regis is special in and outside of the ring and to be able to fight on such a massive show is amazing, and the winner will establish themselves in the pound-for-pound rankings.
“The winner potentially goes on to fight to be undisputed for all four belts and that will be Regis Prograis. Every time he has told how he was going to do something that’s how it happened. All I am expecting is the same on Oct. 26.”
Prograis, the tournament No. 1 seed, easily outpointed Terry Flanagan in the quarterfinals last October and then knocked out Kiryl Relikh in the sixth round in April to win a world title and advance to the final.
Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs), 30, the Houston-based New Orleans native, will face the formidable No. 2 seed Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs), 28, of Scotland, who has defeated two unbeaten men on his way to the final — Ryan Martin by seventh-round knockout in the quarterfinals last November and Ivan Baranchyk by decision to win a world title in the semifinals in May.
“I am fully confident going in to this fight,” said Taylor, a 2012 Olympian. “I am bigger than him, stronger, quicker and punch just as hard. I can beat him in every department. If he comes and tries to walk me down, then I believe that he will walk onto a shot and I will get him out of there, If not I can outbox him for the full 12 rounds. I am fully confident I can win this fight either way. It goes so I am happy and excited to be here.
“I have always wanted to box on a big show in London and I’ve been to watch shows here in the past. I am so excited to be headlining and to be a part of a great night. I believe myself and Regis are one and two in the division. We’re the two guys to beat. We will prove this on Oct. 26 and I feel like this is my time to shine. I can’t see him beating me at all and I am super confident. However it goes you will see a Josh Taylor win. I can’t see anything other than a win for myself.”
While the main event is Prograis-Taylor, London heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs), scheduled to meet former world titlist Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs), of New Zealand, in the co-feature, took exception to being on the undercard.
He launched into a profanity-laden tirade against Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who is putting on the show in conjunction with the WBSS, and also argued with Prograis before abruptly leaving the news conference.
When Hearn introduced Chisora, he went off, demanding that his fight be the main event and if not, that he should be paid more money.
“That doesn’t work for me,” Chisora said to Hearn after asking him who was in the main event and getting a reply he did not like. “I’m not going to sell out the O2 for them guys to be the main event. So give me main event or pull me out of the f—ing show. I’m being serious. You are trying to bombard me. You want me to sell it to my London crowd, London fans, and then you want to put these little guys, nobody knows about them, on my show and then try and mug me off. F— that.
“The Muhammad Ali trophy [that goes to the WBSS winner], nobody gives a f— about it no more, nobody gives a f— about little guys any more. Boxing right now is thriving on the heavyweights, so to try and give me chief support on my own bill, that’s bollocks.”
Prograis interrupted and told Chisora that he and Taylor were the top two fighters in their division, which warranted main event status.
“Nobody cares about you, let’s be honest,” Chisora said. “Don’t get me started by asking me questions. Am I taking the main stage, yes or no? If not, I want more money.”