Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis: All you need to know as East Lothian fighter bids for undisputed world title
PRESTONPANS fighter Josh Taylor will have the opportunity to be crowned undisputed world champion in October when he faces Regis Prograis at London's O2, it has been confirmed.
The IBF world super lightweight champion will headline a bumper card to contest his World Boxing Super Series final (WBSS) against the undefeated American on Saturday, October 26.
Prograis is the current WBA and interim WBC light-welterweight champion and is ranked the No.1 seed in the tournament.
However, Prestonpans’ Taylor, the No.2 seed, has produced the more eye-catching performances en route to the final.
The winner will also land the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy as well as the vacant Ring Magazine title.
How did we get here?
The Tartan Tornado, 28, set up this showdown with WBA light-welterweight champion Prograis in the final of the World Boxing Super Series with a semi-final win against Belarusian Ivan Baranchyk at Glasgow's SSE Hydro in May.
But that only tells half the story. Since turning professional in 2015, Taylor has gone 15-0, winning 12 of those fights by knockout.
Meanwhile, the impressive Prograis stopped Kiryl Relikh in round six of their fight in Lafayette, Louisiana in April to win the WBA light-welterweight crown and boasts a 24-0 record with 20 knockouts.
The clash in London will be Prograis' first fight outside the United States.
But the build up has been marred by controversy over the New Orleans-born fighter's participation in the bout after reports emerged Prograis, 30, was attempting to pull out after issues over payments with the tournament organisers.
Prograis filed legal action against the WBSS to allow him to miss the fight, but the promoters called the move "unfounded and without basis in fact or law".
What has Taylor said?
Speaking after the announcement, the Capital fighter said: "I'm massively excited. I want to prove I'm the best in the division by taking on the best fighters."
"Now it's finally over the line I can concentrate on getting to work in the gym and going full steam ahead again.
"I'm very confident that I can outbox him and outfight him as well, I can't see anything other than a Josh Taylor win."
However, Prograis responded furiously to accusations he was "ducking out" of the fight, launching a foul-mouthed tirade in a video posted to fighthype.com.
Tearing into Taylor and his home fans, the undefeated American railed: "All these Scottish motherf*****s on Instagram, on Twitter, talking all that s**t, they can’t go in there and fight for him."
“It’s gonna be me and him and it’s not gonna be no f*****g boxing match; I’m gonna f**k him up.
‘When I went to Scotland he said he was ready for a war. Well lets see if he can really back those words up.
“I’m going to London to hurt Josh Taylor. Nothing else. I’m not going to box him, I don’t want a f*****g decision, or if it goes to that I’m gonna hurt him for 12 rounds.“
What else is on the card?
There's plenty to keep boxing fans entertained until the main event, with fellow Scot Ricky Burns taking on Wales' Lee Selby and a heavyweight encounter between Britain’s Derek Chisora and New Zealand’s Joseph Parker.
Meanwhile, Lawrence Okolie challenges undefeated European cruiserweight champion Yves Ngabu.
How can I watch it?
The October 26 clash is live from London on Sky Sports Box Office.