Superstardom awaits the winner: Josh Taylor vs Regis Prograis
The WBSS was created in the notion that the best would fight the best, the saying has not always rung true, but on October 26th we will just get that. Number 1 and 2 at Junior Welterweight will face off in what is anticipated to be a contender for FOTY.
The road to the top for both Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis share some similarities. Neither fighter is signed to a premier boxing promoter, Josh Taylor’s career has been guided by the McGuigan family, with Hall Of Fame fighter Barry managing and talented trainer Shane overseeing his rise to the top. Fighting under the Cyclone Boxing banner has resulted in Josh fighting on terrestrial television in the U.K but this has not enabled him to break further than the hardcore boxing circle. The terrestrial T.V stations are unable to pump the money behind a fighter like the pay T.V alternatives in Sky and B.T, thus Josh’s rise to the top has been a rather low profile one.
Regis Prograis also had to deal with the inability to stir up ‘hype’ in his rise to the top of the 140lbs division. Almost six years into his career is when Regis got his breakout fight, he fought for the vacant interim WBC Junior Welterweight title live on Showtime against former titleholder Julius Indongo. Indongo who was coming off a loss to Pound for Pound king Terence Crawford was seen to be the perfect step up fight for Regis and would allow the wider watching public determine whether he was to be a major player in the division. Regis made the most of his opportunity on Showtime and dominated his foe en-route to a second round KO. Few knew of Regis prior to this outing but boxing public had now taken notice of the incredible talent he possessed.
However, although both Josh and Regis found themselves at the top of the division they were unable to tie down world title fights. Josh was ranked highly in all the governing bodies but was unable to land a shot at any of the title holders. Regis had however secured the WBC diamond belt, this ensured he had a guaranteed shot at WBC title holder Jose Ramirez. The fight seemed inevitable with promoter Lou Dibella openly calling for the WBC to order the fight, Top Rank, promoter of Jose, had alternative plans, instead wanting to secure a co-promotional agreement with Regis having become aware of his talent and wanting to build the Prograis vs Ramirez fight further as it still only would resonate with the hardcore boxing public.
What the WBSS offered up to both fighters was everything they both required at a key moment in each mans career. The tournament allowed each fighter to showcase their talent on a global stage, with worldwide promotion, for career high purses with the guarantee of a World title shot. It was an opportunity too good to turn down for either.
The prospective opportunities for the winner could be huge considering neither is signed to a network, and with the current network war in the United States a bidding war may well ensue in order to secure the talents of the winner.
Matchroom Sports and Josh Taylor
For Josh Taylor, Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has now taken a key interest after initially admitting he may have been a fighter who slipped through the net when he initially looked to secure the best GB amateur talent. The U.K boxing fans have made their opinions heard over the last 12 months with more and more of the talent from this side of the Atlantic choosing to fight oversees. In addition to this PPV fighters in the U.K are now few and far between, with only Anthony Joshua the only marquee PPV attraction. Josh Taylor should he be victorious would be able to attract a PPV slot on the premier boxing network in the U.K. Eddie himself has admitted to this previously stating that that plan with Josh would be to ‘grow him both sides of the Atlantic as a Sky pay-per-view fighter and a DAZN fighter.
If victorious Josh Taylor would hold the WBC Diamond belt, guaranteeing himself a shot at the only other title holder in the division, Jose Ramirez. A fight of this magnitude would definitely interest DAZN who would see this as a marquee fight for their network. In addition to this Matchroom would be able to offer fights with hugely talented Devin Haney who has made it clear that he intends to campaign at 140lbs in the near future. In addition to this an all U.K PPV fight with Kell Brook at 147 lbs could also be on the cards. Also campaigning on DAZN is highly talented Golden Boy prospect Virgil Ortiz who also looks destined for stardom.
The signing of Josh Taylor to Matchroom Boxing seemingly holds massive benefits for networks in the U.K and U.S.
Regis Prograis and Matchroom Sports
For Regis Prograis a win over Josh Taylor would definitely attract Eddie Hearn’s promotional outfit as it would enable him to build his roster in and around the 140 lbs division. His talented roster in and around the division includes Luke Campbell, Maurice Hooker and Devin Haney. All credible fights and the possibility of a Devin Haney fight would be massive in the United States considering both men’s careers seem to be on an upward spiral. Eddie has a very good working relationship with Lou Dibella and they have previously agreed on co-promotional deals with Tevin Farmer. Regis Prograis certainly ticks the boxes and the last 12 month’s has shown that DAZN is willing to invest heavily in the correct talent. With Regis Prograis being a young vibrant American boxer on the cusp of breaking the Pound for Pound rankings he could be the perfect fighter to build the network.
Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis with Top Rank
Top Rank although do not hold a massive roster, their ability to create superstars can’t be denied. The biggest PPV attractions of the last quarter of a century all began their respected careers with the Promotional outfit. They have been credited with having the best match makers in the business, often ensuring their prospects take the right fights at the right time. This would all suggest that the Top Rank is a conventional choice for the winner of the tournament, but this is not the case, Top Rank lack a deep roster of fighters, especially in and around the 140lbs division. Although they promote Jose Ramirez at 140lbs they have little other than him at the weight class. They would be able to offer a fantastic fight against Terence Crawford at 147lbs but this would be an enormous task if any fighter would go up in weight. Although Top Rank would be able to make a suitable offer it would likely not entice either fighter like offers other promotional outfits may.
The PBC has often held a monopoly in and around the most exciting weight classes, with a roster estimated to be around 200 fighters the promotional outfit is able to offer many fantastic potential match ups for either winner. With the backing of both networks The PBC is able to offer opportunities to the winner that neither other promotional outfit can.
Josh Taylor and The PBC
For Josh Taylor the precedent has previously been as Barry McGuigan, who previously managed Carl Frampton, secured a deal for the fighter to work alongside Al Haymon and the PBC brand. That promotional agreement resulted in a number of U.S exposure for Frampton, including a FOTY contender against Leo Santa Cruz. Additionally, with the PBC’s intention to build its U.K fighter base after agreeing a network deal with terrestrial TV outfit ITV. To date the only marquee fight to take place after the announcement has been James Degale vs Chris Eubank Jr. If the organisation is to make any headway with the PBC brand in the UK it is vital it secures the signing of Josh Taylor. For Josh Taylor the PBC would be able to offer huge potential fights with a number of household names including Mikey Garcia, Adrien Broner and potentially Manny Pacquiao.
Regis Prograis and The PBC
The PBC would seemingly be the conventional choice for Regis Prograis. As previously stated The PBC would be able to offer Regis the most lucrative fights in and around the 140lbs division. The PBC has notoriously been known to pay its fighters better than any other, so much so that the billion dollar DAZN – Eddie Hearn pact has caused little trouble to the organisation. Furthermore, when there were rumours regarding Regis’ participation in the final of the WBSS there was talks that this was because of a potential showdown with Adrien Broner. Regis Prograis would be an amazing coup for the organisation with his fan friendly style and willingness to take on all comers. Promoter Lou Dibella has always stated that he will not stand in the way of his fighters making the most money they can, he has long been willing to work with all networks in order to give his fighters the best opportunities.
What’s for certain is that the result of the fight at the 02 arena on Saturday night will have massive ramifications for fighters and networks on both sides of the Atlantic. One would expect Josh were he to be victorious to sign for the U.K based promoter who can best build his profile on this side of the Atlantic. For Regis one would expect him to join the PBC brand with their ability to build a fighter with their network deal with Fox and the massive opportunities they can offer him. Although Top Rank hold the key to undisputed it would be a surprising choice if either fighter signed a promotional deal with the outfit. For now we can enjoy an excellent fight but the next few months are destined to be very intriguing.