FightPost Boxer of the Week: Regis Prograis
By Gary Kittilsen
In what was one of the busiest boxing weekends of the year, there was no shortage of outstanding Fighter Of The Week candidates. However, one performance stood head and shoulders above all others. In the semi-finals of the WBSS, Regis Prograis dissected and annihilated WBA champ Kiryl Relikh.
Prograis, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, became the first world champ from his home city in over 54 years; when Willie Pastrano last held the light heavyweight championship. Despite being the number one seed in the tournament and being considered either the best or second best 140-pounder in the world, Prograis had never held or even challenged for a world title before this past weekend. That all changed in devastating fashion as Prograis scored a 6th round TKO to capture the 140-pound WBA world title and advance to the finals of the WBSS tournament where he will face the winner of the other semi-final bout between undefeated IBF champ Ivan Baranchyk and the undefeated challenger Josh Taylor of Scotland.
Prograis put on an absolute clinic in his home state of Louisiana, at the Cajundome, dominating Relikh from the opening bell to the fights brutal ending. Prograis started quickly, firing the jab and going down to the body and avoiding the champs return fire with slick head movement. Late in the first, Prograis landed a thudding counter left uppercut to the body of Relikh, which put him down immediately and it looked like out.
However, Relikh was able to get to his feet, but perhaps never fully recovered from the tremendous body shot. Prograis persisted with the ferocious body attack for the remainder of the night, making sure Relikh could never get into a rhythm and back into the fight.
At the end of the fifth round, Relikh’s corner was clearly concerned with what they were seeing and threatened to stop the one-sided beat down if he didn’t turn things around immediately. That set up the brutal ending in round number six. Prograis came out quickly again, hurting Relikh to the body and then landing one power shot after another on the defenceless champ. With Prograis absolutely teeing off on Relikh’s head his corner intervened and threw in the towel causing the referee to step in and waive the bout off.
With his title-winning performance, Regis Prograis has firmly put his name in the conversation to be considered one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters. He has one more hurdle to overcome in the winner of the Baranchyk/Taylor fight, which will be the biggest and likely hardest fight of his career. However, should the New Orleanian survive that test and win the 140-pound tournament, his next logical move would be a step in weight to the loaded 147-pound division. A Prograis fight versus any of the champions in the welterweight division, whether it be Thurman, Porter, or the two top names Spence and Crawford would be a mega payday and a pay per view event for the new champ.