Taylor looks to outclass Prograis in unification fight

Josh Taylor is convinced his experience and boxing ability will ensure he is victorious over Regis Prograis, whichever way the fight goes.

Bookmakers have American Prograis as the slight favorite in the world super-lightweight title unification fight, which is also the final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) — the eight-man elimination tournament.

Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs), 30, from New Orleans, but based in Houston, has stopped 20 of his 24 victims and makes a first defense of his WBA belt on Saturday, after dealing with Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh in six rounds in April, at the O2 arena in southeast London.

Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs), 28, from Edinburgh, Scotland, also makes a first defense after a convincing points win over Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk in May earned him the IBF belt.

Taylor, who has the advantage of boxing on British soil, has dismissed the relevance of the betting lines and insists he has a better pedigree than Prograis.

“I’m 100 percent confident I can beat him in every single department,” Taylor told ESPN. “If he tries to box me and keeps it long he will not get anywhere near me because he’s shorter than me. I’m cleverer than him and have better experience, have boxed better opposition than him.

“He’s had zero test, no acid tests, and I beat him in every department. If he tries to walk me down it’s game over for him, and I believe I will get him out of there,” Taylor continued. “I know his power is not going to bother me because I’ve sparred middleweights, so a guy my own weight is not going to bother me. I think he’s going to rely on his power and I don’t believe that’s enough for him. … He’s a good fighter and does a lot of things well, but I see a lot of flaws him that I will exploit.”

Prograis, however, believes he is more versatile.

“I’m super-confident, there’s no way he can beat me,” Prograis said. “All his fights look the same, but all mine look different. My style will prove to be the better one, I can do so many different things and he does get hit a lot.”

Taylor, who has been training at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, is not the only Scot on the bill: Glasgow’s Ricky Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) faces Wales’ Lee Selby (27-2, 9 KOs) in an intriguing fight at lightweight.

“Ricky has done great, a three-weight world champion, and he could have retired by now but he’s still a good fighter and this is a great fight for him,” said Taylor. “Selby and Burns are two really good fighters.”

Selby-Burns is a good match-up, a clash of two former world champions hoping to revive their careers after setbacks, but another boxer on the bill — who has never been a world champion — felt he should be top of the bill.

Derek Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs), 35, who was born in Zimbabwe, but has lived in London since childhood, spoke out at a press conference to publicize the show, insisting his non-title heavyweight bout against New Zealand’s Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs), the former WBO titleholder, should be the main event. Chisora, who unsuccessfully challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC world title belt in 2012, hit out at promoter Eddie Hearn and said his fight was bigger than Taylor-Prograis.

Parker has since pulled out after being struck down by the effects of a spider bite. David Price (25-6, 20 KOs), 36, from Liverpool, has stepped in to face Chisora in what promises to be an entertaining all-British matchup.

But Taylor says Chisora is wrong to have ever considered himself worthy of being the main attraction.

“He thinks he deserves to be the main event but how can a non-title fight of not much significance be on top of a fight for two world titles?” Taylor added.

“Maybe it’s because a wee Jock is coming down to England and taking the limelight away from him and he doesn’t like it.”

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