GLASGOW, Scotland — WBA junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis described a junior welterweight world title unification clash with Josh Taylor as a “a superfight” after watching Taylor outpoint Ivan Baranchyk in a unanimous decision victory on Saturday night to earn a spot in the World Boxing Super Series final.
Taylor’s footwork, counterpunching and smart boxing were crucial in earning scores of 117-109, 115-111 and 115-111 over Baranchyk to capture the IBF belt at the SSE Hydro here.
Prograis, 30, of the United States, who was in Glasgow to watch the fight, was left encouraged by openings he saw in Taylor. The pair are expected to meet for two world titles in the final of the WBSS, an eight-man elimination tournament, in September.
“He got holes, you can’t get hit like that by me,” Prograis, wearing a kilt, said at a post-fight press conference.
“It is going to be a hell of a fight. In three years if we didn’t fight each other it would be pay-per-view. But this tournament is all about the best fighting the best. Every other division you have champions but you don’t know who the champion is. I call them titleholders.
“But this is truly going to be for the best in the division. It’s going to be like a superfight.”
Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs), 28, from Edinburgh, Scotland, floored U.S.-based Belarusian Baranchyk twice in Round 6, and led a 6,000-plus crowd in a rendition of “Flower of Scotland” right after the fight to celebrate winning his first world title.
“I’ve always believed in my goals and ability,” Taylor said. “It’s goal achieved, but now it’s time to kick on and win this tournament.
“This next fight [against Prograis] will be a lot more skillful fight and a more tactical fight because we are both intelligent boxers. It will be a more tactical than a physical fight. He’s a tall fighter and I’m a tall fighter. I believe I will win that fight.”
Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs), originally from New Orleans but now based in Houston, won the WBA title with a sixth-round win over Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh in April.
Inoue looks impressive … again
Naoya Inoue explained he started too tense, which meant he could not pull off a third first-round knockout win in succession, but the Japanese fighter still produced a sensational performance, flooring Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1,12 KOs) three times in the second round of their bantamweight world title fight to score a TKO victory on the same card in Glasgow.
“In the first round, it was a different environment for me and I had to make some adjustments,” Inoue said at a news conference.
“After that, I performed better and I got the victory. I was pretty tense and stiff [in the first round].”
Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs), 26, added Rodriguez’s IBF world title to his WBA “regular” belt and progresses to face American-Filipino Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs), 36, in the WBSS final later this year.
Donaire won the WBA “super” version of the bantamweight world title — and earned his place in the final — with a KO victory in Round 6 over Stephon Young in April.