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Prograis halts Relikh in sixth, captures WBA title

Boxing

Regis Prograis captured the WBA junior welterweight title by halting the normally durable Kiryl Relikh in six rounds Saturday night and advanced to the final of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament with a TKO victory at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) got to work early by dropping Relikh (23-3, 19 KOs) with a well-timed body punch late in the first round. From there, his superior fluidity, elusiveness and powerful left hand helped him dominate the bout.

Relikh, who was cut over the bridge of the nose in the second round, was steadily beaten to the punch in most of the exchanges with Prograis.

Prograis shifted gears in the sixth round and started to land a multitude of unanswered power shots to the head of Relikh, forcing his corner to wave the fight at 1 minute, 36 seconds of the round. It was the first stoppage loss for Relikh.

Prograis will face the winner of the other semifinal, which pits Ivan Baranchyk vs. Josh Taylor on May 18 in Glasgow, Scotland

“Whoever the put me in front of me, they’re going to get the same treatment,” Prograis said.

Donaire stops Young, earns place in bantamweight final

Nonito Donaire advanced to the final of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament with a sixth-round stoppage of late replacement Stephon Young.

After controlling the action in the early portion of the fight against Young — who was a late substitute for WBO 118-pound champion Zolani Tete, who was scratched from this event Thursday due to a shoulder ailment — “The Filipino Flash” ended things dramatically with a signature left hook that knocked Young to the canvas and had referee Mark Nelson waving off the fight immediately.

“We came in here with a good game plan,” the 36-year-old Donaire said. “Stephon is a really slick fighter, so it was really difficult to come up with a particular game plan.”

Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) said he designed his attack by timing Young’s right jab and countering with his lethal hook.

“I was able to figure out the timing, the distance and that’s what happened,” said Donaire, who was willing to face Young (18-2-3, 7 KOs) on short notice because like Tete, Young was a left-handed boxer.

Now he awaits the winner of the matchup between world titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez and highly regarded contender Naoya Inoue in the other semifinal May 18 in Glasgow.

“I know both guys are amazing, but there was an unspoken thing with me and Japan, and how much I respect and love Japan, as well there was an unspoken respect between me and Naoya Inoue, that we were going to go to the finals,” Donaire said. “He’s always supported me to get to the finals, I’ll be supporting him to get to the finals, so we can face off with each other.”

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