Regis Prograis and Nonito Donaire post impressive victories
The Diamond belt is fine, but Regis Prograis wanted a world title. To achieve his goal, Prograis would have to defeat defending champion Kiryl Relikh.
Prograis dropped Relikh in the first round, and stopped him in the sixth to capture the WBA junior welterweight title and earn a place in the finals of the World Boxing Super Six finals.
In the opening stanza, Prograis, a southpaw, came out jabbing—while Relikh attempted a few lead right hands. Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) edge in speed was obvious. He bobbed and weaved and connected with a few solid left hands. One to the liver hurt Relikh badly. He staggered to the ropes. Another left put Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) down for a count of seven. The Belarusian fighter beat the count and survived the round.
Prograis landed another hard shot in round two. Relikh took it well, but finding Prograis with anything significant was proving difficult. He was also worried about the right side of his ribcage-keeping his arm glued to his side. Prograis cracked Relikh with a long left that seemed to hurt the defending champion. Both fighters fired hard shots. Relikh landed a hook after the bell that staggered Prograis.
Relikh, with blood dripping from the bridge of his nose, came out more aggressively in round three. Perhaps he wanted to see if Prograis was still feeling the effects of the punch that landed after the bell had rung. Nope. He fired right hands, but Prograis landed a combinations to the head and body. He poked out his jab to keep Relikh off balance. He was landing three punches to every one by Relikh. His bodywork continued consistently.
In rounds four and five, the beatdown continued. Prograis feinted and fired. Relikh landed his own good shot to the gut. Prograis kept working. His rhythm was solid. He even showed a, “now you see me, now you don’t” defense—and then punctuated his big edge in ability by making Relikh pay. The game and bloody Relikh was being dominated, and couldn’t do anything about it.
The end looked near as Prograis popped Relikh with a hard right to the chin in round six. The hometown hero connected with two solid lefts. Relikh was tough, but his return punches lacked power. He was hurt, and Prograis knew it. The soon to be champion, connected with hard left and right. Second later he opened up some more, unloading a combination that forced Relikh’s corner to tell the referee that their man had had enough.
“I told you I’m the real deal,” said Prograis. “I dominated and stopped him. I knew what I was going to do when I came in here. This fight I barely got hit and stopped him.”
There was never any doubt that four-division world champion Nonito Donaire was going to defeat Stephon Young. The only question was would Donaire land his signature left hook?
The reborn Doniare (40-5, 26 KOs) stalked Young (18-3, 7 KOs) from the opening bell, pounding his opponent with hard shots to the body. Young landed a good punch in round two, but Donaire took it well.
Donaire started putting his heavy-punches together in round three. He used his jab to set things in motion. He was dominating round five until again getting caught with a punch to the whiskers, Donaire shook off the blow and was back in control in round six. With roughly twenty seconds to go in theheat, Donaire unleashed his left hook from hell. The blow landed flush—sending Young to dreamland before he landed like a heap on the canvas.
The time was 2:45 of round six.
“Thank you, Layfette, you guys are amazing,” said the smiling Donaire in the ring. “I kept timing him with my hook. “One way or another I paid for it with scratches on my right hand, but it paid off. I’ll take the damage to earn the victory.”
With the victory, Donaire will now fight in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series.