By Bradley White @B_White11
From the moment the participants were announced for the super-lightweight World Boxing Super Series tournament, this is the one we wanted to see.
These are the kind of fights we don’t get to see too often in boxing, the kind of fights the WBSS is intent on delivering. The best versus the best, two undefeated title holders in the prime of their careers.
“Number 1 versus number 2”, is the tagline Prograis has been using throughout the build up and (although WBC/WBO champion Jose Carlos Ramirez might argue with that claim) these kind of fights are exactly what we as boxing fans want to see.
Since rising to prominence by dominating Ohara Davies in what was supposed to be a well-matched prospect fight, Taylor has gone from strength to strength, passing what may well have been his toughest test against former title holder Viktor Postol before dethroning Ivan Baranchyk earlier this year.
Prograis also picked up an impressive series of scalps including two former title holders in Julius Indongo and the UK’s own Terry Flanagan before disposing of Keryl Relikh for the IBF strap with a blistering performance in April. Prograis may not boast anything as impressive as Postol or Baranchyk on his resume, but it certainly seems to rebuke Taylor’s claims that his opponent has yet to face a real test.
Their entirely juxtaposing demeanours during the build up of the fight only serve to add more intrigue to the bout. Prograis has been doing a lot of press over the past few weeks, giving long and insightful answers to questions and putting himself in the eye of the UK public. Conversely Taylor, the home fighter, is mostly giving short, if not one word answers and for weeks now has had the look in his eye of a man who just wants to fight.
Prograis likes to dictate the tempo of every fight he’s in, utilises good footwork and lateral movement and is equally as effective when counter punching as he is when attacking in flurries. Taylor stands upright and utilises his jab well, he possesses a ring IQ far beyond his 4-year-career with excellent punch selection and is able to apply constant pressure throughout 12 rounds.
Both fighters tend to throw a high volume of punches, and despite Prograis’ (valid) claims that Taylor gets hit a lot, he has been in the ring with some big punchers and never looked phased, whilst Prograis regularly spars with Jermell and Jarmall Charlo, who campaign at super-welterweight and middleweight respectively, adding a lot of weight to his assurances that he too can take a punch.
This is a 50/50 fight in the truest form of the adage and both possess styles that are sure to gel. These are well-rounded, elite level adversaries who can do it all.
They can box at range behind the jab, they can mix it up in the pocket, they’re both southpaws with excellent technical ability with power, speed and a couple of solid engines to boot. Two undefeated prodigies fighting for two titles, a prestigious trophy and the best claim to being number one in the super-welterweight division. Fights like this don’t come along too often.
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