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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Boxing Picks 2019- Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor (October 26th)

We all love and Boxing and when you do you can't help but feel a little broken when a story like Patrick Day's comes along.

In Boxing it is rare to find someone about whom no one seems to have a bad word for and I think that makes digesting his passing that much tougher for fans, fighters and promoters alike. It's always hard to be honest and another reminder of what everyone is risking when they step between the ropes.

All of these competitors should be respected and not ridiculed for trying to better themselves or pursuing the passions they have. Some will become the superstars they are dreaming of becoming, while others will fall short, but we shouldn't forget what these men and women are willing to do for our entertainment and as fans of a wonderful sport I do hope people can sympathise a little more when corners decide to pull their fighters from taking unnecessary punishment and also when referees edge towards a cautious approach to stoppages rather than allowing things to go too far.

RIP Patrick Day.


I needed a couple of weeks to really digest the news and warriors like Patrick Day won't be soon forgotten. There is no way that Day himself would have wanted the Boxing world to grind to a halt and instead we have to look forward to what is coming up without forgetting those who have paved the way before.

Some of my biggest heroes have come from this sport and there are plenty of Boxers out there who will inspire the next generation with many becoming real role models to show there are paths to success out there for those willing to put in the hard graft.

A new superstar is likely to be made by the end of this weekend when the first of the Season Two World Boxing Super Series Finals is concluded at the O2 Arena in London. It is the main event of a stacked card which I am focusing on for the Boxing Picks this week with four big fights on the night of interest.

You can read my thoughts below on those as well as the Boxing 2019 update at the bottom of the thread.


Yves Ngabu vs Lawrence Okolie
The latest step up in the career of Lawrence Okolie takes place on Saturday night in one of the early fights on the loaded card at the O2 Arena in London.

He is pushing to become European Champion in only his fourteenth professional fight and Okolie continues to learn on the job. He has experience as an amateur, but it is not a deep experience and some of this fights have been worse than watching paint dry, but you can't deny the raw tools he has at his disposal.

There is clearly some pop there and his height and range is going to make things very tricky for Cruiserweight opponents even if Okolie still feels some way short of the elite of the Division that we have seen in the World Boxing Super Series. He isn't miles away from those fighters and Okolie is moving up the World Rankings with a couple of the organisations out there, but I do think The Sauce still has to get through a few more fights to learn his craft before kicking on to World level.

We are going to see a tough fight for Okolie on Saturday when he takes on an unbeaten Champion in Yves Ngabu who has been talking up his own chances. I do have to say that there is not a deep resume to look at with the Belgian fighter, but Ngabu is in the top 15 of the World Rankings and he has shown some heavy hands in his career too.

However the Knock Outs have slowed down as he has stepped up his level and he did go beyond Eight Rounds for the first time in his last fight when defending this Title for the second time. I do think his tactics will be to try and get in close and rough up Okolie, but the British fighter has shown he can spoil very quickly and I think he is going to begin to pick off someone charging into his space.

You do have to question whether Okolie begins to get bogged down with his work the longer he has to be in the ring. Only one fighter who has heard the bell for the Fifth Round has been stopped by Okolie, while the other three in that situation have all managed to get to the cards and much of this one is going to depend on how much resistance Ngabu has early in the contest.

Once he has felt the power and dealt with it, Ngabu could make this a very rough outing for Okolie although I do think it will be very difficult to win a decision in London against the home fighter even as the Champion. This might not be a very good watch in the second half of the fight as Lawrence Okolie perhaps gets into a situation where he is making sure he is putting Rounds in the bank without taking big risks.

Backing Okolie to win on the cards is my call here at a decent price.


Lee Selby vs Ricky Burns
A few months ago we had James DeGale vs Chris Eubank Jr which was billed as something of a 'retirement fight' with the loser really struggling to have anywhere to go. On that day DeGale was beaten pretty comfortably and duly announced his retirement in the following days and I would not be surprised if we see that happening with the losing fighter in this one too.

Both Ricky Burns and Lee Selby are the wrong side of 30 years old and both have had solid careers. Overall you definitely have to give the edge to Ricky Burns for the achievements he has had, while many are questioning why Selby kept trying to make 126 for as long as he did when he was clearly struggling to get down to weight.

It was a surprise to hear Selby say he had one or two issues getting down to 135, but I think that might be a few mind games at work. What I do know is that Selby looked pretty average in his debut at this weight and is now facing someone who is clearly the bigger man, although not someone with a huge punch.

Ricky Burns did stop Scott Cardle eleven months ago, but that says more about the lack of punch resistance Cardle has than the power of the Scotsman. His last two big fights have both resulted in Decision defeats and I do think Burns is still resilient enough to get to the cards which means Selby is going to have to outwork him to win this one.

Any time I have watched Selby I do get the feeling of someone doing just enough to win his fights, but he is going to be made to work very hard in this one with the way Burns takes to his task. I am not sure that is appealing to Selby and I can see Burns pushing forward and landing enough to take this one.

Omar Douglas made the 'Welsh Mayweather' look pretty ordinary in the last fight Selby had back in February and I am not sure there is as much desire in Lee Selby as Ricky Burns even though he is the younger man. Lee Selby is a decent Boxer and I do think he will have his moments in this one, but I am looking for Burns to just outwork him and as the underdog I think he is worth backing.


Dereck Chisora vs David Price
This all British fight is another where the winner might move on to a big fight or two, while the loser is going to struggle to find a new path in their career.

It feels like David Price has been in that situation for a while now, but even through losses the Liverpudlian keeps finding a way to bounce back and re-motivate himself to reach the World stage he believes he belongs at. A defeat to David Allen would have been very hard to move past though and Price produced a very strong performance to see off a limited opponent who had some momentum behind him.

I can imagine the tactics are going to be similar in this one as Price looks to use his superior Boxing skills to break down another pressure fighter. However Dereck Chisora is a couple of levels above someone like David Allen and if he is focused he is certainly capable of closing the gap and forcing Price to work much more than Allen did.

David Price has twenty-five wins in his professional career, but the win over Allen is only the second time he has won a fight that has gone beyond the Sixth Round. A predictable Allen did not tax Price in the same way others have to empty the gas tank of the big man, but I would be stunned if that is the case when Chisora is in the ring with him.

Personally I am not a huge fan of Chisora- he has been involved in some entertaining fights in his career, but for me he is well promoted which makes people believe he is much better than he is. There is definitely a ceiling with Chisora, but I am not convinced Price is above that and as long as the former is motivated enough with this replacement he should be capable of breaking down the bigger man.

Dereck Chisora still has some solid punch resistance so should be able to get through the most dangerous portion of the fight which is the first four Rounds. As long as he makes Price work like Kash Ali did even though the Midlands fighter let himself down by deciding to bite in a fight that might have been going his way at that point.

I do think Chisora will have cleverer pressure than Allen and his movement and punching power is beyond the level that Allen can produce. If he gets through the first four Rounds, I think Chisora will be taking over the fight and it is worth backing him to earn a Stoppage between the Fifth and Eighth Round.


Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor
I have been pretty high on Josh Taylor and his capabilities for some time now- this is a fighter as good as any at 140 and also has the size to move into the loaded Welterweight Division.

The best way to move up to that killer of a Division is to win this fight and be a Unified Champion which would make him a bona fide superstar. It will open the door to some huge outings with Taylor likely to be the next British fighter to head Stateside and with a huge following behind him.

All of that is going to be set on the foundation of winning the World Boxing Super Series Light Welterweight Final on Saturday.

And doing that won't be easy at all.

Regis Prograis is considered the next big breakout fighter in the United States and the unbeaten Champion is someone I've really begun to like more and more as his profile has built. He is someone you can root for and it makes it easier for me to make a prediction on the fight because I don't think I am letting my heart rule my head here.

I have felt for some time that Taylor can win this fight and that despite some of the suggestions that he might not be making 140 as easily as he would like. Josh Taylor was good on the scales on Friday and it was actually Prograis who needed to strip off to get under the 140 limit, although I don't think he looked like he was struggling either.

Both are quality fighters and I do think they will gel together quite well- Prograis is perhaps the slightly superior defender, but I think Taylor might have the slight edge when it comes to the power. It makes for a fascinating fight and I do think there will be some really close Rounds with Taylor perhaps on the front foot and Prograis picking his punches.

I would not be surprised if this comes down to what the judges like on the day, but we do need to find a winner and a fourth referee is in operation in this one. One Knock Down for either fighter could be huge on the day and I think there is every chance there will be some controversy attached to the outcome.

Being closer to home might be key for Taylor in a close fight and I do think both have the kinds of resumes that have to be respected. Regis Prograis might have the superior record on the face of things, but it isn't overwhelmingly in his favour and I am also not convinced he has the better chin of the two fighters either.

This is going to be an absolute beast of a fight, but I think Taylor might edge it with the judges favouring his style on the night. Regis Prograis will have his moments and Josh Taylor will have to ride out some difficult times, but I think he has shown he can do that and adjust within a fight and that should be key for him here.

Don't be surprised if we get to see this again next year, but in the United States, as Taylor gets the nod in a close one.

MY PICKS: Lawrence Okolie to Win by Decision/Technical Decision @ 2.87 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Ricky Burns to Win @ 2.50 William Hill (2 Units)
Dereck Chisora to Win Between 5-8 @ 3.50 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Josh Taylor to Win @ 2.37 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Boxing 2019: 21-43, + 0.87 Units (98 Units Staked, + 1% Yield)

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