New Orleans born Regis Prograis showed once again why he is the #1 seed in the WBSS Super-lightweights tournament when he took the WBA Super title from Kiryl Relikh at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana with a 6th round stoppage win.
Prograis dropped the champion from Belarus in the 1st round after Relikh landed a right hook to the head which injured his hand. Turning away in pain, the ruthless Prograis went on the attack, dropping the champion with a hard body shot.
Relikh was cut on the bridge of the nose in the 2nd round which saw the challenger land with straight left hands out of his southpaw stance. As the round ended Rilikh landed a hard left hook that badly wobbled Prograis. The punch landed after the bell had sounded but referee Luis Pabon issued no warning or point deduction
Relikh's trainer Melvin "Chico" Rivas tried to get his fighter to let his hands go now that he knew that he could hurt Prograis, telling his man "He can't take a punch! You have to find his chin," but the incident didn't alter the course of the fight as Prograis dominated proceeding, breaking up the champion with a heavy bombardment to the body throughout.
Going into the 6th round Rivas asked Relikh if he could continue. The body shots from Prograis had left the Belarusian desperately trying to block his tormentor's heavy left hooks. Another 96 seconds was all it took to persuade Rivas to tell referee Pabon to call a halt to proceedings.
The win earns Prograis his first world title and the chance to gain a second when he faces the winner of the other semi-final between Scotland's Josh Taylor and IBF Super-lightweight champ, Belarus's Ivan Baranchyk.
Talking after the fight, Prograis said "The dude had never been stopped. I just dominated him. I'm a different animal. Whoever they put in front of me, they're going to get the same treatment. I worked on my defence. This time, I barely got hit, and I stopped him. What can they say about me? Nothing. I want to fight Josh Taylor more because people are saying he can beat me. It don't matter. I'm running through everybody. How can they not put me on pound-for-pound? I'm running through everybody. Put me on pound-for-pound!"
The Louisiana native is building a reputation as a fighter that can do it all. In his last bout against former Lightweight title-holder Terry Flanagan, Prograis boxed in a controlled and clearly defensive manner to show his detractors that he didn't have to take shots if he chose not to. Tonight he chose to fight in a fan-friendly style, but take less punishment than he has been criticized for in the past. The improvements are there for all to see, and that is why he is now in many fans P4P top 10.
If Taylor comes through his semi-final against Baranchyk, we could see a much tougher encounter for Prograis in the final.