By Jake Donovan
Regis Prograis has firmly believed for years that he is the best super lightweight in the game today. He remains so confident in that belief that he’s prepared to travel literally anywhere in the world to prove it.
“I’ve been saying for a while since my first ShoBox appearance; I’m the king of 140,” insists Prograis (24-0, 20KOs). “I’ve been ranked number one in the world at 140. I want to keep proving that I am the best.
“If you look at my resume, I’m 24-0, 20KOs and haven’t had a challenging fight yet. Nobody has challenged me yet.”
That statement figures to be put to the test in his next fight, as the New Orleans (La.)-bred boxer faces fellow unbeaten 140-pound titlist Josh Taylor. The two are the last men standing in the super lightweight bracket of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
“It’s a number one vs. number two fight,” notes Prograis, although Jose Carlos Ramirez might have something to say about it following Saturday’s knockout win over Maurice Hooker in their own 140-pound title unification bout. “Taylor is number two, he’s undefeated for a reason.
“I wanted to beat the best in order. I believe he’s the best one left. I’m going to fight him and do my thing.”
Prograis and Taylor entered the WBSS tournament as the two highest-seeded boxers in a loaded super lightweight bracket. Five of the eight participants were undefeated heading into the tournament, including Anthony Yigit, Ivan Baranchyk and Ryan Martin.
Taylor (15-0, 12KOs) bumped off two from that list, scoring a one-sided stoppage win over Martin in the tournament quarterfinals before claiming a 140-pound belt in a spirited 12-round decision over exiting titlist Baranchyk this past May.
Both bouts took place in his native Scotland, enjoying similar home region advantage as did Progais whose pair of tournament wins took place in Louisiana.
He advanced to the semifinals with a landslide decision win over former lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan last November in New Orleans. Six months later, the 30-year old rising star tore through Kiryl Relikh in six rounds to win his first major title this past April in Lafayette, La., the halfway point between New Orleans and Houston—the two towns he calls home.
The next ring adventure will likely take place on the first weekend of October, with a location to be determined in the United Kingdom as the likely destination. Scotland has already been ruled out, but it will still mark Prograis’ first trip abroad, having fought exclusively in the United States through seven years in the pro ranks.
On the bright side, such a trek only helps him back up his claim of facing any opponent anywhere in the world to prove he’s the best.
“Really, I want to be at a neutral site but it won’t be too bad,” Prograis noted in a recent interview with DAZN's Chris Mannix. “I love to fight under pressure. If it is in the U.K., I believe it will be more pressure on him than it will be on me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox