By Paul Mason
The Super Lightweight version of the excellent World Boxing Super Series continues this weekend, with a double-header of quarter finals taking place at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. I preview Anthony Yigit v Ivan Baranchyk in a separate article, but here is my preview on a matchup for the interim WBC Title featuring a British fighter. World Boxing Super Series’ YouTube channel is the place to watch all the action.
Regis Prograis (22-0, KO19) v Terry Flanagan (33-1, KO13) – WBSS Super Lightweight Quarter Final & Interim WBC Super Lightweight Title
Following an excellent quarter final in Yokohama , Japan, where Kyril Relikh defended his WBA Title against Eduard Triyanovsky in a pulsating contest, the Super Lightweight edition of the World Boxing Super Series gets into full swing this Saturday night in New Orleans. Manchester’s “Turbo” Terry Flanagan has a big job on his hands against American southpaw knockout artist, Regis Prograis, who has really come to the fore on the back of three impressive wins in as many fights. The winner will meet WBA Champion, Kyril Relikh in the first semi-final.
Prograis is the tournament number one seed and favourite for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, and starts as a big betting favourite in this contest, as short as 1/12 with certain bookmakers, and Flanagan’s main hope is that he can outbox Prograis over the distance, and somehow negate the American’s ferocious punch power.
Prograis has been a professional since April 2012, and it would be twenty unbeaten fights before he really came to wider attention with some impressive performances. He met Joel Diaz Junior in June last year in a battle of unbeaten punchers. Diaz was 23-0 with 19 knockouts to his name coming into the fight, but Prograis had his man down four times in the second round, as Diaz simply couldn’t stand up to Prograis’ power shots. If that was considered a one off, then Prograis backed this up with a stunning second round stoppage win over former WBA and IBF Champion, Julius Indongo. The Namibian was knocked down once in the first, and three times in the second as the Houston based man steamrollered him. In his last fight, Juan Jose Velasco was 20-0 going into his meeting with Prograis, but he was again no match. Another three knockdowns amounted to an eighth round stoppage win. This is a worrying set of statistics for Terry Flanagan to see, especially as he is coming up from Lightweight, facing a man with eleven knockdowns in his last three fights.
Flanagan is of course a former World Champion in his own right. A Prizefighter Champion in He captured the vacant WBO Lightweight Title in slightly facile circumstances in July 2015, as Jose Zepeda was forced to retire in two rounds with a dislocated shoulder. Flanagan didn’t dwell on this though, as he impressively stopped Diego Magdaleno in his first defence at the Manchester Arena. He would go on to make four further defences of the belt, against Derry Mathews (unanimous), Mzonke Fana (Unanimous), Orlando Cruz (TKO8) and Petr Petrov (Unanimous) before he outgrew the weight and moved to Super Lightweight. His handlers managed to get him an immediate World Title chance against tricky American southpaw, Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO Title at the Manchester Arena. Hooker was in great form in their June 2018 meeting, and had an answer for everything that Flanagan threw at him. There was to be no home town favours as the longest active unbeaten streak in British Boxing at the time was snapped, Hooker winning via split decision.
I think that Flanagan may very well be too small for the weight, and will surely have to feel Prograis’ power early on. Again, Flanagan’s best hope is to box at range and stay away from any exchanges, but this isn’t in the Ancoats man’s makeup. I expect Prograis to get the job done around halfway.