‘The Tarton Tornado’ prepared for “dog fight” with Prograis
Josh Taylor has warned Regis Prograis against turning their highly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series Ali Trophy Final into a “dog fight” and insists that he possesses the power to knock his opponent “spark out” should the chance present itself.
The fierce Super-Lightweight rivals are days away from locking horns at The O2 in London in a fascinating match-up of two unbeaten southpaws with the WBA and IBF World titles also on the line, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Proud Scotsman Taylor is oozing confidence ahead of his biggest fight to date against American foe Prograis in what will be the first defence of the IBF crown that he ripped from heavy-handed slugger Ivan Baranchyk at the The SSE Hydro in Glasgow earlier this year.
“The two best lads in the division are going for it,” said Taylor. “We are both undefeated, we are both hungry, both hungry for more success so it’s going to be a real interesting fight. I’m all about my speed, reactions and timing.
“My footwork is very good. I can offset you with feints and timing, but I punch real hard as well for someone of my size. I wouldn’t say I was a concussive, one-punch knockout artist, but I know if I hit you, you’re either going down or you’re going to be hurt and in trouble. So, I definitely think I can do a bit of everything.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how he comes out when that first bell rings. We can predict how he is going to fight and things like that, but you never know until that bell rings. It might be a skillful match throughout the entire fight, or we could just lock horns and fight, or a bit of both. You never know.
“I’m very confident that I can outbox him and outfight him as well. I can’t see anything other than a Josh Taylor win. If he tries to make it a ‘dog fight’, tries to walk me down and drag me into a fight, he is getting chinned. I will knock him spark out!”Prograis vs. Taylor tops a huge night of action in London.
Liverpool Heavyweight fan favourite David Price (25-6, 20 KOs) steps in to face Derek Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) in a huge all-British clash, three weight World Champion Ricky Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) tackles former IBF Lightweight ruler Lee Selby (27-2, 9 KOs) in an intriguing match-up at 135lbs, Yves Ngbu (20-0, 14 KOs) makes the third defence of his EBU European Cruiserweight title against Lawrence Okolie (13-0, 10 KOs), Conor Benn (15-0, 10 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Welterweight title against late replacement Steve Jamoye (26-7-2, 5 KOs), German Super-Middleweight talent Denis Radovan (12-0-1, 5 KOs) meets former Commonwealth Champion Luke Blackledge (26-8-2, 9 KOs), Watford Bantamweight prospect Shannon Courtenay (3-0, 1 KO) aims to go 4-0, Houston Middleweight talent Austin Williams (3-0, 3 KOs) fights in the UK for the first time and Berlin’s Abass Baraou (7-0, 4 KOs) takes on John O’Donnell (33-2, 11 KOs) for the WBC International Super-Welterweight title.
Good afternoon everyone, thank you for being here today for a very special press conference ahead of our huge show on October 26 at The O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN.
What a card, what a main event and what a group of fighters we have here today. The Unification match up, the Ali Trophy, The World Boxing Super Series Final between Regis Prograis the WBC Diamond, WBA World Champion and Josh Taylor the IBF World 140lb champion. It’s an absolutely brilliant fight, I was lucky enough to be there in Glasgow when Josh Taylor won the World title against Baranchyk in the Semi-Finals and I am delighted to be working alongside Kalle Sauerland and the WBSS to bring this to Sky Sports Box Office on a huge card.
You have only got to look at the names, I feel a bit bad that these guys are on a bottom table if there was such a thing. Three-weight World Champion Rick Burns, former World Featherweight Champion Lee Selby, Conor Benn, Yves Ngabu, Lawrence Okolie brilliant European Cruiserweight match-up as well and of course Derek Chisora against Joseph Parker. The two came head-to-head in Los Angeles last week, we’ll be bringing you exclusive content of that. Parker is now in camp, he’s underway.
What a monster, monster show it really is a fantastic one. October 26, at The O2, we were treated by Vasiliy Lomachenko’s brilliance and Luke Campbells superb display as well and an amazing atmosphere the other week. Its a special place the O2 and it is going to be lit up by this card. As Eddie said the bottom table shouldn’t be. Ricky Burns is a three-weight World Champion that we have worked with for many years, Lee Selby, utter class down there. A fantastic European Title fight and Conor Benn is going great guns. Look up here, I know we are missing Joseph Parker but Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker is a wonderful Heavyweight fight in the blue-ribbon division. It’s a mouthwatering fight, Derek finding form even at this stage of his career and you never quite know what you’re going to get, what a terrific knockout against Artur Szpilka last time. Joseph Parker is young and hungry and wants to play a real part in this division.
As for this one, the World Super Series Final, Kalle I am so glad you have brought the guys to us. I’ve wanted Josh Taylor on Sky for so many years. We had him on the Semi-Final, that was fantastic. I wasn’t there that night in Scotland as we were in America but I cannot wait to be ringside for this. This young man to my right Regis Prograis could be a real superstar of this sport. He is dangerous, exciting and unbeaten like they both are. It’s a terrific top of the bill and I think it is one of the best cards Eddie you have put on in a long time. We’re not going to miss this one.
It’s great to be in London, it’s great to be putting this fantastic Ali Trophy final on and we have to thank Matchroom and Sky Sports Box Office for providing this great platform at The O2 in London. The atmosphere there is incredible and is fitting for this super final. This is it, the Champions League of boxing, the Super-Lightweight final. As a fan this is my peak, this is the one that when we set it out this was the golden final. The ticket to the Ali Trophy and it is a dream to have both guys, two undefeated and very young fighters with huge personalities. Two fighters who will come forward, both slick in different ways and both amazing to work with. It’s not often you see the best going against the best, this is one of the fights of the year and is an amazing card from top to bottom.
My career has been a rollercoaster. It feels like I have been pro for a long while but really it’s only been four or five years. It’s been so dramatic but I know that I have Britain behind me and all these learning fights are going to put me in good stead for the future. I have been dropped twice and managed to get back up off the canvas, put the other opponent down twice, boxed ten rounds, been cut and had injuries all these things. I am only 22 so when I am 25, 26 these things won’t be anything new to me so as far as I am aware, I’m on course and I’m excited to have a great year.
As I get older my man strength is coming and people are going to get laid out clean. They are not going to get back up! My last fight was expected to be a hard fight and when I looked at him I thought I’m in trouble here and then he came out flying in the first round and I managed to get him out of there. If people want to come and have it with me I will have it back with them. If I go down, then they’re going down with me. I’m not worried who they put in front of me, whoever it is there it will be the same outcome and I am going to go out there and do one job and one job only.
I came here one year ago to the UK with a plan, the first was to win my fight and the second was to fight the number one from the UK who is Lawrence Okolie. Lawrence is a good fighter but I know where I want to go and to get where I want to get – these are the things I have to do and get out of my way.
I am focused on my work and we are going to see on October 26 how I am going to beat him. He is a good fighter, he is tall and strong and everything until now he has done perfectly but I believe I can beat him and I believe I am stronger than him.
I’m happy to be here, shoutout to Josh Taylor. This is going to be the third Champion I have boxed. I have beaten the British Champion, beaten the Commonwealth Champion and I am looking forward to beating the European Champion next. I’ve seen a lot of interviews with him and I like the way he speaks, he speaks very confidently. I’m just looking forward to going through training camp and then going to work.
It is going to be a very exciting fight, he has got a style which is opposite to mine. He is a come-forward fighter who also knows how to box with good counter-punching. There is going to be a lot of things to deal with on the night but I will deal with them all comfortably and go on from there. The most important thing is to make weight in seven weeks and we can go from there.
The O2 has been great to me and I have boxed there more than any other venue. I won the Lonsdale belt there, won and defended my World title and now I am back there on October 26. I’ve got a tough opponent in front of me, Ricky Burns is a former three-weight World Champion and to be a World Champion and defend it once you have got to be a great fighter, to do it twice you have got to be brilliant and to do it at three different weights, you’re elite. I have got the upmost respect for Ricky Burns and we shared the ring back in 2014. He got me in for sparring in preparation for his fight with Crawford and from what I can remember it was great sparring, up and down. After each session, everyone in the gym would give us a standing ovation so if the sparring is anything to go by then we are in for a treat.
A few years back when I was British Champion making Featherweight was a real struggle and I remember you asking me Eddie, “how do you make the weight?”. The sacrifices and some of the stuff I had to do to make the weight you wouldn’t believe. Losing the World title was very upsetting but it was a weight lifted off my shoulders, I can fight at a more comfortable weight and I’m in the gym and feeling good.
I’ve finally got a fight over the line, it has been a frustrating year for myself. We have had a couple of fights being spoke about but they fell through. My last fight was in November last year but we have pulled it out the bag with this one. I know that I am in for a tough fight, as Lee said, we sparred before and he came up to help me when I was boxing Crawford and I can always remember when we were sparring I said to him he “you’re so big for a Featherweight, how do you do it?”. It was competitive sparring and like I said, on the night the best man will win. I just feel like I am going out there to do a job, training has been going well so far and I can’t wait for October 26.
We know what Parker brings to the table, he is well established. More importantly he holds that all important win over Andy Ruiz Jr who is arguably the number one Heavyweight on the planet after the crazy stoppage victory he got over AJ in New York which I was ringside for. For me, Derek getting that win against Parker means more than just a win. It really catapults him up there to the top players in the division and he has shown time and time again that he can come again. Last time out against Artur Szpilka his training camp hadn’t gone well, sparring was a struggle but he managed to get it together in the last two sparring sessions. Fortunately the universe works in strange ways and I was in the Hayemaker gym round the corner today watching Derek Sparring for the first time since that fight in his first real war sparring and he is back. He is in a better place now seven weeks out than he was on fight night last time out. The fact he hasn’t had long out the gym and is back working hard means he is a great spot and he is going to build on what we brought to Artur Szpilka at the O2, an arena where he has a great history. Parker is in shape and is going to come to win this fight and I think it is going to be an absolute barnstormer.
Dave Coldwell will no longer be training Derek Chisora because of a logistical issue in the sense that Dave couldn’t come down to London and Derek wasn’t able to get up to Dave. We will make an announcement in the coming weeks who will be in the corner but if sparring is anything to go by you are in for an absolute treat and Joseph Parker would never have had the heat that is going to be brought to him on October 26.
I’m bringing war, I’m not playing. This is my show. Boxing is thriving because of the Heavyweights. Mike Tyson said it when AJ knocked out Klitschko, the money is back in the division. I want more money if I’m not headlining the show!
I’m really looking forward to fighting for the first time in London, headlining at The O2 and I am so excited for it, I can’t wait.
I am fully confident going in to this fight. 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 October 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.
Barry McGuigan MBE:
These are the two best Super-Lightweight fighters in the world. Prograis is a tremendous puncher, very aggressive and he can box on the back foot too – he is very exciting to watch. Josh Taylor has improved rapidly since he has turned pro. We have moved him very aggressively and I think that he is the best 140lb fighter in the world.
I am so glad to be here and I am so excited for October 26. It has been a dream for me for a long time to come and fight in London, the fans over here are some of the best in the world. For me, there is no animosity towards anybody and most fighters don’t get this chance in a lifetime. You have got four things on the line, my title, his title, the Ali Trophy and the Ring Magazine belt. I had a late start but a lot of fighters have been fighting for 20 or 30 years and never have got this opportunity. For me to be here is the opportunity of a life-time and this is about personal legacy right now.
To be getting this chance in London, at The O2 – I can’t wait! This is number one and number two, two undefeated fighters in their prime, both champions – sometimes you have two champions but they’re not number one and number two 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 don’t just want to repeat what he said but 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. The past is the past and this is going to be me and him and I think he will bring his A game like I will – this is going to be one hell of a fight.
I am not going to predict what round I will win I am just going to go out there and do my thing. 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 on October 26.
We are so glad that everything got sorted out and was finalised – we cannot wait for October 26. We are coming to fight and will be finishing our camp over here in the UK – we’re looking forward to a great fight. 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 P4P 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 October 26.
Chisora-Parker, Burns-Selby & Ngabu-Okolie land on October 26 blockbuster
The World Boxing Super Series Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final between USA’s Regis Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) and Scotland’s Josh Taylor (15-0, 13 KOs) lands at The O2 in London on Saturday October 26, as Derek Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) and Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs) meet in a crunch Heavyweight showdown, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the U.S.
WBA World Champion & WBC Diamond Champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis will be travelling to the UK after having fought the quarter and semi-final in his home state of Louisiana. IBF World Champion & WBC Silver Champion Josh ‘The Tartan Tornado’ Taylor boxed both of his preliminary bouts in Glasgow, and is now moving to neutral ground.
Prograis and Taylor entered the WBSS and the quest for the Ali Trophy as the two highest-seeded boxers in a loaded Super-Lightweight bracket. No.1 seed Prograis earned his spot in the final by outdoing Terry Flanagan on points last October, and then went on to stop Kiryl Relikh in six rounds and take the WBA World title in the semi in late April. Meanwhile, No.2 seed Taylor stopped Ryan Martin in round 7 last November, and then proceeded to decision Ivan Baranchyk to claim the IBF World title in May.
“I’m very excited to get everything settled for this fight,” said Prograis. “This is the fight I wanted the most and it’s the fight to prove who is the best in the division. My goal has always been the same and that’s to prove I’m the best 140lbs fighter in the world and to become undisputed. “It has always been a dream for me to fight in London. The boxing fans in the UK are some of the best in the world and I can’t wait to go and put on a show. I know once they see me fight they’ll be fans for life.“Taylor is in my opinion is the 2nd 140lbs in the world after myself. He had two great performances leading into the finals and I’m looking forward to fighting the best Josh Taylor on October 26th.”
“I’m massively excited,” said Taylor. “I want to prove that I’m the best in the division by taking on the best fighters. Now it’s finally over the line I can concentrate on getting to work in the gym and going full steam ahead again. “I’m very confident that I can outbox him and outfight him as well, I can’t see anything other than a Josh Taylor win on October 26. It will be a huge buzz to fight for the Muhammad Ali trophy in front of a huge crowd at The O2. I believe that I am the best fighter in the division and now it’s time to prove it.”Derek Chisora will be targeting another explosive victory in his showdown with New Zealand’s Parker, a former WBO Heavyweight World Champion, as two exciting contenders collide in the Capital. ‘WAR’ Chisora is back at the scene of last month’s dramatic knockout triumph over Poland’s Artur Szpilka while Parker returns to Britain after back-to-back stoppages of Alexander Flores and Alex Leapai.
“I’ve wanted this fight over a year now, Parker the Ozzie kangaroo fled for the bush once already this year, complaining he didn’t have enough time to prepare,” said Chisora. “I’ve now given him all the time he needed. I’m a real fighter, I’m always ready to go to WAR. Szpilka felt what Derek WAR Chisora is all about, and he was my friend, and trust me that was just 30% of what I’ve got ready for that Aussie bum.
“I’m gonna to do what Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz both couldn’t do, I’m gonna knock Parker’s dingo a** clean out, and send this Aussie chump back to the other side of the planet, where he belongs.”
“Chisora will come with experience and he will come with pressure,” said Parker. “He’s coming off two good wins, so he’ll be full on confidence and out to make a statement. As always, I back myself against any fighter on this planet and I’m expecting an exciting war on October 26.
“I’ve always had a lot of love and support from my UK fans and I can’t wait for my return. A win here takes me another step towards targeting the other top names in the division and becoming a two-weight World Champion.”
Elsewhere on an unmissable night of action, three weight World Champion Ricky Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) tackles former IBF Lightweight ruler Lee Selby (27-2, 9 KOs) in an intriguing match-up at 135lbs and Hackney’s Lawrence Okolie (13-1, 10 KOs) steps up again as he challenges undefeated European Cruiserweight Champion Yves Ngabu (20-0, 14 KOs).
“What an absolute banger!” said Eddie Hearn. “This card is epic, and we’ve only announced 4 fights. Prograis vs. Taylor is such a wonderful unification match up and Chisora vs. Parker is nothing but Heavyweight fireworks. Three weight World champion Ricky Burns tackles former World Champion Lee Selby in a brilliant domestic Lightweight battle and Lawrence Okolie faces a big step up against European Champ Yves Ngabu. There’s plenty more to be added on this massive night of boxing at The O2.”
“This is a true super fight and another huge Ali Trophy moment,” said Kalle Sauerland. “Two unbeaten, in-prime World Champions meet to settle who is best in the division, two boxers who have performed at the very highest level in this tournament.
“In this terrific match-up of two undefeated gladiators it is very difficult to predict who will be raising the Ali Trophy in the end. One thing is sure, it is going to be an enthralling showdown not to be missed!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “We’re delighted to announce another huge night of boxing as Josh Taylor’s World Boxing Super Series final against Regis Prograis is joined by Derek Chisora’s Heavyweight showdown with Joseph Parker at The O2, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
“Josh Taylor has become Scotland’s latest boxing hero, showing his class to win the IBF belt in the semi-final, and victory over the excellent Regis Prograis will take his career to new heights.
“Derek Chisora reminded us of his destructive power with that crushing knockout of Artur Szpilka last month, and we’ll welcome back Joseph Parker to these shores for another exciting shootout. With that crucial domestic clash between Ricky Burns and Lee Selby, and Lawrence Okolie taking a step-up to European level, it should be an enthralling evening of action at The O2.”
David Haye, manager of Derek Chisora, said: “Derek Chisora reminded us of his destructive power with that crushing knockout of Artur Szpilka last month, and we’ll welcome Joseph Parker back to these shores for another exciting shootout. With more big names to be added, it should be an enthralling evening of action at The O2.
“It’s great to be once again working with Eddie and the team at Matchroom in a co-promotion to bring fight fans a show they’ve been calling out for. Eddie and I have been trying to make this fight for sometime now, it’s been almost a year in the making, so we’re excited to finally get it over the line!
“The O2 is Derek’s favourite venue, one which has hosted career defining moments for him. He is a fighter, a performer and he loves to rise to the occasion, especially when in front of his home crowd. Just last month in the very same venue he took on a fight where many felt he had bitten off more than he could chew, but he rose to the occasion and put Szpilka to the canvas in emphatic fashion. “
IF EVERYTHING PLAYS out according to plan, Jack Catterall would like to be contemplating a world title unification clash against Josh Taylor in the not too distant future.
There are several obstacles standing in the way of such a prospect at present, not least the fact that Catterall has got his mandatory challenge to the WBO world super lightweight champion Maurice Hooker to navigate past first.
Taylor, meanwhile, is heavily embroiled in the World Boxing Super Series, where the Scot is scheduled to take on Ivan Baranchyk for the IBF belt at the semi-final stage in Glasgow next month.
If successful, the Edinburgh man will face either Regis Prograis or Kiryl Relikh in the final, with the WBA belt also on the line.
Catterall makes Taylor the favourite to emerge from the series with the bounty.
“The World Boxing Super Series is going on in the background in the meantime and the favourites to win it in my book are either Josh Taylor or Regis Prograis,” reasoned the 23-0 Catterall ahead of his own return to the ring on April 27 at Wembley. “I do pick Josh over Prograis slightly, although I have not seen too much of the American.
“My ideal scenario would be for me to win my world title and Josh to win the WBSS. Then we could get together for a unification fight.
“I’ve thought about fighting Josh because I’ve got to be looking at all the guys in the top ten in my division. Everyone is with different promoters but these fights are always possible. For me it is an obvious fight for the future,” added the 25-year-old who clearly backs himself against the best the division has to offer.
“I have definitely got the beating of him and I think I have got the beating of all the guys if I prepare right.”
In the meantime, Catterall will keep busy ahead of his shot at Hooker with a slot on the card at the SSE Arena, live on BT Sport. It is an assignment he views as essential but one he must view with caution given that his big opportunity is firmly on the horizon.
“I am definitely happy and grateful for the opportunity to get a fight at Wembley because it will keep me in a good place physically and mentally. I am under no illusion going into this fight that I have got to treat every one like a world title.
“I’m hoping to pick up a good win on April 27 and really kick on from then. It is a catch 22 because I can’t sit on the fence, not be active and earn no wages until my shot. I’ve just got to get a win and go from there.”
Daniel Dubois v Richard Lartey tops the bill at the SSE Arena, Wembley on April 27 on a card that also includes the Commonwealth super middleweight title fight between Lerrone Richards and Tommy Langford, as well as the Southern Area super middleweight title clash between Zak Chelli and Jimmy Smith. WBO European super flyweight champion Sunny Edwards and WBO European super featherweight champion Archie Sharp also feature.
Chorley-boxer Jack Catterall will be in action as he edges ever-closer to a world title challenge. Rangy Super Welterweight talent Hamzah Sheeraz will be back out after his impressive win over Rod Douglas Jnr. Hard hitting middleweight and Peacock gym product Denzel Bentley (9-0) and Belfast amateur middleweight star Caoimhin Agyarko will also return to action. There is a Queensberry debut for Sheffield middleweight Shakiel Thompson (2-0) – with Thompson being tipped by sparring partner Billy Joe Saunders as a star for the future. Ilford Super Middleweight Umar Sadiq (4-1) also returns as he looks to rebuild after his first career loss. Tunde Ajayi trained lightweight Bilal Ali (1-0) will have his second professional fight after making a successful start to his pro career, with Hoddesdon super lightweight Alfie Price set for his fifth.