The World Boxing Super Series resumed from the home of the Color of Creole, serving up two Semi-Finals matchups in the Junior Welterweight and Bantamweight divisions.
In the main event, Regis Prograis (23-0 19KO) faced Kiryl Relikh(23-2 19KOs for Relikh's WBA title and an opportunity to face the winner of Josh Taylor-Ivan Baranchyk for the Ali Trophy.
Prograis certainly seemed up for the challenge. “That’s why I signed up for the tournament. It’s a big risk and reward at the same time. It’s real fights. You can’t duck people, you have to fight. It’s a big reward at the end, at the end of the rainbow is the pot of gold. Adding a “W” is not a “W.” It's about how I get it. I want to knock him the f*ck out”.
The Co-Main Event found itself in turmoil earlier this week when Nonito Donaire (39-5 25KO) opponent Zolani Tete injured his shoulder and had to pull out of the fight. Stepping in against the veteran was Stephon Young (18-1-3 7KOs) who promised to take every advantage of the opportunity. “It’s a dream come true to be in this position. I feel I will handle the big stage quite well and I rate my chances very well.”
This how the Semi-Final fights played out…
Regis Prograis vs. Relikh
Regis Prograis voiced his desire to not just win but win in style. Backing up his banter in the 1st, Regis landed a vicious left to the liver of Relikh which caused him to temporarily stall and turn his back before being knocked down. The second round saw Prograis on the prowl, cutting the bridge of the nose of the bloodied Relikh. Frustrated, Relikh landed a punch that rocked Regis after the bell. Warning issued but the damage done as some of the steam came off Prograis in the 3rd and 4th rounds. In the 5th, Prograis began to land at will again while displaying elite defensive skills, causing frustration for Relikh who needed to keep his elbows dropped to protect his ribcage. As the 6th progressed, more and more punches landed from all different angles for the man they call Rougarou, and with no answer coming from Relikh, the towel was thrown from the corner.
A TKO6 for the newly crowned WBA Super Lightweight Champion and another statement for arguably the best fighter at 140lbs.
After the fight, when asked about winning another title “I told you. I'm the fucking real deal. I'm the fucking best. No one at 140 can mess with me.” Few would argue after that performance.
Nonito Donaire vs. Stephon Young
A veteran of 18 years of fighting, Donaire imposed his surprising size advantage in the early going by cutting off the ring, seemingly urging his opponent to trade punches by continually walking in and applying pressure. Young found most of his success with the straight left in the early rounds, tentatively finding his place in the championship fight. Multiple right hands landed by Nonito in the 4th brought blood streaming from the nose of his opponent. After multiple shots landed for Young and his confidence began to rise, his right hand started to fall. And in the 7th Donaire threw a left hook over that dropped right hand, landing flush with what will maybe be considered knockout of the year. Young was unconscious before he hit the ground, causing concern ringside and leading Nonito to kneel by his side until he regained his faculties. Despite having a career on the ropes a year ago, Nonito Donaire advances to the finals with an opportunity to fight pound for pound great Nayoa Inoue.