Chris Oliver's boxing tips: Josh Taylor backed to beat Regis Prograis by decision

Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor clash at the O2 Arena
Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor clash at the O2 Arena

Our boxing betting expert Chris Oliver looks ahead to Saturday's action including Josh Taylor's clash with Regis Prograis and Dereck Chisora against David Price.

Recommended bets: Saturday boxing

2pts Josh Taylor by decision against Regis Prograis at 9/4

2pts Lee Selby by decision against Ricky Burns at 10/11

2pts over 6.5 rounds in Dereck Chisora v David Price at 10/11


The World Boxing Super Series final has provided us with an absolute cracker as Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis do battle for 140lb supremacy at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.

This mouth-watering main course is a rare recipe of two unbeaten champions, both in or around their peak, and desperate for the challenge to prove their greatness, with the added ingredient of it being Britain versus America, and fight fans around the world are licking their lips in anticipation of what will be served up.

The perfect garnish is that the pundits and the public are seeing it as a genuine 50-50 match-up, a view the bookies are beginning to come into line with as the support continues for Taylor, who is now a top price of 11/8 as Prograis eases to 8/11.

The favourite has been spoken about as a future star in the US for some time and has looked excellent in registering a career record of 24-0 (20 early), including two very impressive wins in this tournament. Firstly, he dominated Manchester's former lightweight title holder Terry Flanagan from start to finish on his way to wide points victory a year ago, before dismantling WBA champion Kiryl Relikh inside six rounds last time out, and wasn't asked too many questions in either bout.


Big Fight Night Details

  • When: Saturday October 26
  • Where: O2 Arena
  • Television: Sky Sports Box Office (from 1900 GMT)
  • Cost: £19.95 (Click here to book)
  • Full Fight Card
    Josh Taylor v Regis Prograis
    Ybes Ngabu v Lawrence Okolie
    Dereck Chisora v David Price
    Ricky Burns v Lee Selby
    Conor Benn v Steve Jamoye
    Shannon Courtenay v Melinda Habran
    Austin Williams v Miroslav Juna
    Abass Barou v John O'Donnell
    Denis Radovan v Luke Blackledge

Click here for Sky Bet's boxing odds


The 30-year-old backs up his smart boxing skills and excellent head movement with quick and heavy hands, and while he can be a lethal counter-puncher on the back foot, he doesn't need a second invitation to go for an opening when presented with one.

A Commonwealth gold medallist on home soil in 2014, Taylor has been moved very quickly since turning professional and has backed up the confidence shown in him by claiming some notable scalps en route to a perfect 15-fight record.

Having battered Ohara Davies in a domestic grudge match, the Scotsman took a huge gamble by stepping up to take on former WBC champion Viktor Postol and it paid off, as he edged out the talented Ukrainian on the scorecards in a dramatic contest.

That earned him a place in this event and a punch-perfect seventh round stoppage of American Ryan Martin set him up nicely for a title challenge at the IBF belt against the powerful and aggressive Ivan Baranchyk, who was put down twice and beaten at his own game on his way to a point unanimous points defeat.

There are many ways this one could play out which just adds to the intrigue. Taylor is very busy and boasts a terrific engine so may well look to set a high tempo from the off, given that Prograis likes to fight at his own pace.

However, he needs to be very careful not to become too eager and walk into a counter from the favourite, who is very adept on the back foot and certainly has the power to change the course of this fight at any moment. Taylor has shown he takes a good shot, though, and also boasts a fine jab, so could make the most of his two-inch height and reach advantage by keeping Prograis at range and attacking from the outside.

It is generally 1/2 and shorter (best of 4/7) to go the distance so the judges are likely to have to earn their money here, especially with a cagey start very possible given what is at stake and the clear respect they have for each other, and Taylor could have a few advantages to tip the scales in his favour should it go the distance.

Despite having nine fewer fights, he is arguably the more seasoned and experienced having taken on tougher opposition and passing 'gut checks' in hard 12-rounders against Postol and Baranchyk. The visitor, on the other hand, has only gone the championship distance once and didn't particularly have a tough time of things against Flanagan that night. Also, being the home fighter with the backing of a loud crowd could count for a lot if it goes to the cards, while it is also worth noting this is the first time Prograis has fought outside the America and that could also play a part.

Prograis is 7/4 to get the nod on the cards, but he has had it pretty much all his own way in his career so far and that could count against him if, as expected, things get tough against Taylor, who can draw upon his superior experience to take a decision at 9/4.

The appetisers feature a couple of very interesting all-British clashes, including Dereck Chisora versus David Price.

This feels like one we should have already seen and it would have been huge around seven or eight years ago when they were in the ascendancy, but it still carries a fair amount of intrigue given they have both enjoyed a good run of result of late.

Price has won three in a row and his one-sided breaking down of the durable David Allen in 10 rounds here in July will have done his confidence the world of good, while Chisora has recorded back-to-back victories either side of a fine effort in defeat when ahead on the cards before being stopped by Dillian Whyte last December.

The form book suggests the durable Chisora, a warm 2/7 favourite, will keep marching forward and chop down his much taller opponent (10/3), who is noted for tiring late on, for a stoppage after halfway, which is fairly priced at 5/2. However, you never quite know what to expect from the enigmatic Finchley man and I am unwilling to invest too much faith in him delivering, especially when the man who has overseen his upturn in form, Dave Coldwell, has not trained him for this one. A safer route looks to be the total rounds and the 10/11 available for it to be over 6.5 appears a very solid option.

Like that bout, it's hard to see any more big fights coming the way of the loser between Lee Selby and Ricky Burns in a battle of two former world champions.

The latter is further removed from his glory days, hence the odds of 6/4 available about the 36-year-old, but he is naturally the bigger man, having campaigned in this division (lightweight) and higher. Selby, a 4/6 favourite, has only had one fight at 135lb since losing his featherweight title but did appear to do the 12 rounds really well as he overcame early troubles and a cut to outpoint the rugged Omar Douglas, so clearly not having to boil down to 126lb anymore helped.

That was in February, while Burns hasn't fought since November and that sort of layoff is far from ideal for a man at this stage of his career, so I like the younger, fresher man in a fight that is 1/6 to go the distance. Burns still possesses a fine jab and good engine, but the constant movement and slick skills of Selby can see him pot-shot his way to a decision on the cards at 10/11.

Posted at 1035 BST on 25/10/19.

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