Regis Prograis is poised for a second title run.
The former WBA junior welterweight titlist effortlessly turned away Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna, blasting out the 6’1” southpaw in the sixth round of their WBC junior welterweight semifinal eliminator. Prograis—a New Orleans-based, Houston-bred southpaw—dropped McKenna in round two and continued to apply pressure until a pair of cuts forced a stoppage at 1:40 of round six Saturday at Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Prograis has not weighed 140 pounds or less since his narrow points loss to Josh Taylor in their World Boxing Super Series junior welterweight tournament final in October 2019. The bout ended his WBA title reign, though he remains among the division’s top fighters. A reminder was sent on Saturday, a fight where Prograis weighed a near-career lightest 138 pounds in their sanctioned WBC title eliminator.
McKenna enjoyed a massive height and reach advantage, though never able to put either attribute to use. Prograis patiently stalked the Belfast native in the opening round, using his jab as a range finder for his potent left hand.
Prograis floored McKenna hard in round two, landing a crushing overhand left to put his foe flat on his back. McKenna beat the count and spent the rest of the round in survival mode, clearly aware that he was severely outgunned.
Round three saw Prograis continue on the attack. McKenna was rocked late in the frame, profusely blinking his right eye and drawing the concern of referee Bence Kovacs who visited McKenna’s corner in between rounds.
Prograis used his jab with greater frequency in round four, freezing McKenna in place and landing several straight left hands. McKenna was forced to contend with a cut over his left eyelid and Prograis’ increasing attack, his head snapping back from a left uppercut after missing with a sweeping left hand of his own.
McKenna (22-3-1, 6KOs) enjoyed his best sequence of the fight in the first minute of round five, landing in combination during consecutive exchanges. Prograis took the shots well, though clearly sent a message that he could no longer afford to toy with McKenna who boxed with confidence for the balance of the round.
The message was received loud and clear by Prograis, who went to work in round six. The cuts along McKenna’s right eyelid and on his cheekbone worsened, with blood streaming down McKenna’s face as Prograis intensified his attack. Body shots wore down McKenna, while Prograis would taunt with his left hand before punching through his opponent’s guard.
Time was called, with the referee asking the ringside doctor to examine McKenna’s cut. Soon thereafter came the decision to stop the contest.
Prograis (27-1, 23KOs) is now in the mix for a shot at the WBC junior welterweight titlist, though will still have to wait in line. Fellow former titlist Jose Ramirez also won a title eliminator in a twelve-round, unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza earlier this month in Fresno, California. Meanwhile, Jose Zepeda remains the mandatory challenger to the WBC belt, while the division’s top players wait out the next move of Taylor, the reigning undisputed champ who will likely vacate all four major titles to campaign at welterweight.
Headlining the show, London-based IBF flyweight titlist Sunny Edwards (17-0, 4KOs) attempts his second defense versus former title challenger Muhammad Waseem (12-1, 8KOs) of Quetta, Pakistan.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox