The last opponent that traveled to the UK to face Josh Taylor arrived five days in advance of their fight.
That wasn’t nearly enough time for Ivan Baranchyk to acclimate to the time change and other factors after training for their 140-pound title fight in the Los Angeles area. Regis Prograis made sure to avoid making the same mistake.
Prograis arrived in London on Sunday, nearly three full weeks before he’ll battle Taylor in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament.
“The jet lag got to me real bad at first,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday night. “I’m adjusting a little bit now. It’s getting a little better.”
The change in his sleeping pattern was among the things Prograis accepted he’d have to endure once he arrived for their title unification fight October 26 at O2 Arena in London. The New Orleans native split time training for this fight in Houston and Santa Monica, California, before flying to London to complete camp for the biggest fight of his career.
His management team – which includes actor Mark Wahlberg and actor/director/producer Peter Berg – and promoter Lou DiBella paid for Prograis to stay in London an additional two weeks before his contract called for him to arrive there for fight week.
“It’s super-important,” Prograis said. “That was the main thing, to get out here early and get acclimated. The first couple days I was sleeping only three hours, four hours, and I was just exhausted.
“The time difference is the biggest thing, but it’s the weather and the food is a big factor, the people, all that stuff. I really did have to get adjusted to all that stuff. So, that’s why I’m glad I got out here early and got acclimated to everything.”
Like Prograis, the Russian-born Baranchyk wasn’t certain he’d even remain in the tournament due to financial difficulties eventually overcome by organizers of the World Boxing Super Series. He thus spent about four full weeks training to face Taylor and arrived in Scotland later than he would’ve preferred.
Taylor’s talent clearly was the foremost factor in the Scottish southpaw beating Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs), who withstood two sixth-round knockdowns on his way to losing a 12-round unanimous decision May 18 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Nonetheless, Prograis made note of Baranchyk’s late arrival and its impact on his preparation.
“I think that’s what happened to Ivan Baranchyk,” Prograis said. “When he fought Josh Taylor, I think he only came out here a [few] days before. You always have to come out earlier than that, just to get adapted to the time difference. It’s a big factor.”
Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs), the WBA champ, is a slight favorite over Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs), who owns the IBF belt, in a fight DAZN will stream live in the United States. Prograis-Taylor also will headline a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view event in the United Kingdom (£19.95).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.