By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Regis Prograis saw something in Ivan Baranchyk when they met in Moscow three months ago that convinced Prograis they’ll meet again in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament.
Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) will encounter England’s Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs) in the quarterfinals Saturday night at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Prograis’ hometown. Russia’s Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) and Sweden’s Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) will meet in another quarterfinal on the Prograis-Flanagan undercard for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title.
The Prograis-Flanagan winner will box Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs), the WBA super lightweight champion, in the semifinals. The Baranchyk-Yigit victor will advance to a semifinal fight versus the winner of a November 3 bout between Scotland’s Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs) and Cleveland’s Ryan Martin (22-0, 12 KOs).
DAZN will stream all of the WBSS 140-pound bouts in the United States.
Prograis expects Baranchyk and Taylor to square off in the semifinals on their side of the bracket.
“If they end up fighting, I pick Ivan Baranchyk to beat Josh Taylor,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “Just because he’s real serious. After the pairing [July 20 in Moscow], we all went out to eat together – Baranchyk and his team and his manager. And he said, ‘Me and you are gonna be in the final.’ And we kind of toasted to it.
“He was real serious. And, you know, Russians are real serious, anyway. So he was like real serious about it. I seen in his eyes that he can pull of the win against Josh Taylor. Josh Taylor is a real good boxer. He can do all kinds of stuff – inside, outside, he’s fast, he’s real tall and long. But if he gets in a dogfight with Ivan Baranchyk, which Ivan Baranchyk will get in a dogfight, I think I can see Ivan Baranchyk pulling that off.”
The strong southpaw from New Orleans obviously believes he’ll beat Baranchyk. He acknowledged, though, that he’ll need to fight smart against the rugged Russian if they indeed fight for the WBSS’ Muhammad Ali trophy sometime next year.
“I think I’ll win, of course,” Prograis said. “I don’t think I’ll lose, you know, but I think it’ll be a tough fight because he’s gonna come to fight. I know I like to fight, but with somebody like him I’ll probably have to box. I probably would box, unless I get him hurt of something like that. Because I know he comes and he has power, too. He’s gonna come to fight. You know, so with somebody like that I’ll have to be way, way slicker, and don’t get in a firefight. Of course, unless I want to.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.