By Jake Donovan
This was never the ending that Regis Prograis envisioned.
The unbeaten 140-pound titlist made major waves in the industry upon announcing his withdrawal from the World Boxing Super Series finals versus fellow title claimant Josh Taylor, complete with a lawsuit filed against tournament organizers on Friday.
Nearly three months have passed since the finals matchup was established, with Taylor (15-0, 12KOs) claiming a 12-round title-winning effort over previously unbeaten beltholder Ivan Baranchyk in May. New Orleans’ Prograis did his part three weeks prior, tearing through Kiryl Relikh in six rounds this past April two hours from home in Lafayette, La.
Tournament organizers have failed to secure a date and location for the event, the final straw for the American rising star coming on Thursday when tourney overseers Comosa AG once again reneged on a promise to deposit fight purse funds into an escrow account.
“I am very frustrated with the WBSS and the actions they have taken throughout the process,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “I am the best 140lb in the world and my goal remains the same; to become the undisputed 140lb world Champion.
“I know my fans are as disappointed as I am.”
Prograis entered as the number-one seed in the tournament when signing up for season two of the lauded series last July. He remained the favorite throughout to win outright, as evidenced in breezing through Relikh in the semifinals and former lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan in the quarterfinals six months prior.
It was after the opening round of the tournament when things began to fall apart. Comosa AG came under fire over failure to promptly pay the participants in full, with most of the winners having to repeatedly inquire about promised win bonuses before receiving compensation.
Prograis actually had to talk his team members into allowing him to remain in the semifinals, as his goal was to collect all of the belts within in the tournament before targeting now-unified 140-pound champ Jose Carlos Ramirez.
He waited our word on the finals and promised secured payment as long as he could before realizing tournament organizers no longer had his best interests at heart.
Now comes the one fight he didn’t want, replacing the one that WBSS still has yet to deliver.
“Trust me, I would much rather be preparing right now to fight Josh Taylor in a ring rather than getting ready for a battle in a courtroom,” insists Prograis.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox