True die-hard fans salivate for fights like the one between WBC Super Lightweight titleholder Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) and IBF champion, Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KO).
The pair ran through the WBSS tournament as the top two seeds, en route to an inevitable showdown for the two titles and the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Both undefeated, both with an agenda to hurt the other, and a plethora of rewards and accolades to boast for the winner.
The initial rounds kicked off with both men meeting at the center of the ring to settle their differences. The southpaw Prograis peppered his jab at Taylor who returned fire with his hooks and uppercuts, trying to show the American he would stand his ground.
The fight was considered a coin-flip bout and through the first four rounds, it was as even as could be. By the midpoint of the bout, it seemed as if Taylor began to land the heavier blows and despite Prograis nods and grins feining no pain, the shots certainly caught his attention.
The fight turned phone-booth style with neither fighter willing to give an inch. A perfect display of head movement, combinations and footwork were on full display, but the hometown Brit began to pull away slightly.
Prograis, whose style usually consisted of aggression and pressure, found himself playing Taylor’s game of timing and elusiveness and it looked to play into the hands of the IBF champion.
The ninth round was a big one for Taylor who rocked Prograis with vicious hooks to the body and head, causing blood to trickle more heavily from the nose of his opponent.
As the fight entered into the championship rounds, the momentum was on Taylor’s side as both men showed damage across their face.
Prograis had blood coming from his right eye and nose, while Taylor’s right eye was swollen and borderline shut.
Taylor did his best to overwhelm the American and empose his will, looking for the finish, but Prograis fought on and landed shots of his own to keep the Brit honest.
The final round was now upon us and Prograis, likely down on the cards, needed a big round and likely a stoppage to secure the titles.
Both fighters let their hands go in the final round, but only one could have their hand raised in the end.
After 12 rounds of stellar boxing, the fight went to the scorecards for a majority decision win for the now unified champion, Josh Taylor.
“A lot of respect for Regis, he’s a great fighter, but the better man won tonight,” said Taylor after his win. “He [Prograis] was very strong and had great head movement and certainly lived up to his name.”
Taylor was quick to call out his next target in Jose Ramirez, who recently also became a unified champion at 140 pounds with a win over Maurice Hooker. The two will likely meet in an undisputed showdown sometime in 2020.
Prograis was humble in defeat and by all accounts, lost little to nothing in defeat aside from his perfect record.
“The better man won tonight,” said Prograis. “I thought it was pretty even and I started timing him better but no excuses at all. I’ll be back.”
Taylor will likely enjoy the spoils of being the victor and has set his career on the fast track to stardom with an impressive victory over one of the toughest fighters out there.
Should he defeat Ramirez in his next bout, the sky’s the limit for the champion.