Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk notch wins in WBSS quarter-final
Regis “Rougarou” Prograis outboxed Terry Flanagan to a dominant unanimous decision (119-108, 118-109 and 117-110) win on Saturday night – advancing himself to the World Boxing Super Series junior welterweight tournament semi-final – and the southpaw contender showed a different dynamic in the process.
The fight was the main event of a card streamed live on DAZN.
“I went out there and I wanted to box. I boxed my ass off,” Prograis said after the win. “Most people say I can’t box. I can’t do this; I can’t do that. I only got power. But now I showed you I can go 12 rounds with a world-class fighter.”
Fighting in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, Prograis, 29, was taken past the eighth round for the first time in his professional career but the performance was highlighted by something that was missing in his previous 22 fights: Defense. Prograis was very mindful of it from the start of round one onward – bending his torso in every which way, while bobbing his head before shooting a jab and moving his feet. After winning the battle of jabs during the feeling-out process, Prograis started timing his overhand left in the second round and slowly took command of the fight without getting lulled into the brawl in whichb he would almost always be willing to engage.
Flanagan, 33-2 (13), may’ve been the one throwing more shots in the early going but Prograis’ constant movement had him swinging and missing plenty. A former beltholder at lightweight and a fellow southpaw, Flanagan, 29, didn’t really get anything going until the fifth round, in which he managed to catch a left hand in the few moments Prograis was stationary. However all that did was spur on the aggressive attack that’s more known from the Rougarou.
Round six was perhaps a perfect way to display Prograis’ performance. The jab was doubled; body shots were implemented and Flanagan had no answers behind his guard, once Prograis started fighting downhill. More impressively Prograis did it all with the same keen defense that had Flanagan swinging wildly, sometimes making himself unbalanced and more susceptible to another left hand to the head. An uppercut from Prograis was another weapon he showcased in the round and, once it ended, he motioned to the hometown crowd at the Lakefront Arena to get excited. In the eighth, Prograis gave them something to cheer about when a left hand dropped Flanagan for the fight’s only knockdown.
Prograis, 23-0 (19), smelled blood once Flanagan rose from the first knockdown of his career. The fight instantly turned into a back-and-forth brawl, with Prograis leading the dance and Flanagan showing the guts to fight fire with fire when hurt. Although Flanagan managed to survive the round, he walked away with a leaking cut near his left eye – which was from an accidental clash of heads – and the fight slipping away. Here and there, Flanagan would hang tough to land a few good shots in rounds 10 and 11 but was never a serious threat for the cerebral boxing performance put on by Prograis through the 12th.
With the victory, Prograis retained an interim WBC junior welterweight title and advances himself to the semi-final of the World Boxing Super Series, in which he will face the WBA 140-pound titleholder Kiryl Relikh.
“It don’t matter who the hell I fight. I’m gonna win the whole thing,” Prograis said when asked about the match-up, which will be his first shot at a world title. “The Muhammad Ali Trophy is mine, so it don’t matter who I fight.”
In the co-feature of the DAZN card, another World Boxing Super Series quarter-final match played out and Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk walked away the winner, once forcing a seventh round stoppage of Anthony Yigit and the Belarussian collected the vacant IBF junior welterweight title in the process.
Baranchyk, 19-0 (12), found himself in a tremendous action fight from the jump and it gave him opportunity to land enough right hands to cause swelling under the eye of his Swedish counterpart by the second round. Yigit, 21-1-1 (7), was landing more than enough to be considered in the fight, however, and, in the third round, he stood toe-to-toe with the power-puncher to help spark an entertaining war. Although having the hand speed to sometimes out-land him, Yigit wasn’t able to hurt Baranchyk, nor was he able to create and return the same resonating power shots landed he absorbed. Once finding a left uppercut, Baranchyk started to take control of the fight in the fourth, when Yigit’s left eye began to shut from all the swelling. By the sixth, it was completely shut but it didn’t hamper the effort from the 27-year-old, who was effective enough to force Baranchyk to rely on wily tactics in order to get a clean shot.
In the seventh, Baranchyk was docked a point by referee Phil Edwards for pushing Yigit’s head down during a break but once the round ended, the third man in the ring decided that eye was done for. Alhough Yigit maintained he was fit to continue, he was certainly saved from the threat of ruining the eye for good.
Baranchyk, 25, won his first world title on his first attempt and is set to defend it in the World Boxing Super Series semi-final, in which he will face the winner of the November 3 match between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin.