WINNER OF PROGRAIS-TAYLOR BECOMES THIRD MEMBER OF EXCLUSIVE ALI TROPHY CLUB
Sun, 13 Oct 2019
Regis Prograis or Josh Taylor will join Aleksandr Usyk and Callum Smith as iconic Ali Trophy winners after their WBSS Super-Lightweight Final at The O2 in London on October 26, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the U.S.
A winner of the World Boxing Super Series can in good conscience call himself ‘Great’ since the WBSS is a direct connection to the GOAT, who gave his blessings to the tournament and agreed to give his name to its prize, The Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Season I of the WBSS took place between September 2017 and September 2018 with Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight as the weight divisions in the competition. Eight men in each edition of the series came down to two historic winners of the Ali Trophy.
Ukraine’s Aleksandr Usyk became the first Ali Trophy holder plus undisputed world cruiserweight champion after outpointing Russia’s Murat Gassiev in the Final on 21 July 2018, in Moscow. All achieved through the quest for the coveted trophy.
“I have a big connection with Ali,” Usyk has told. “We were born on the same day and it’s no secret that Ali is my biggest idol. When I knew the tournament for the Muhammad Ali Trophy would take place, I couldn’t believe it. It was a sign.
“To win all four belts and the Muhammad Ali Trophy was a dream coming true.
“The Ali Trophy is huge!” this year’s super-lightweight finalist Regis Prograis told after having watched the victory ceremony unfold from ringside at the Olimpiyskiy. “When Usyk won it, he won all the belts, undisputed world champion. I was just picturing me up there.”
To Prograis ‘the best versus best’ mantra of the WBSS is one of the attractions of fighting for the Ali Trophy.
“I’m a student of boxing, I’m a student of the game and to me, Ali is a boxing god. I’ve watched every Ali fight, every last one of them. All the way from his amateur fights all the way to his last night against Trevor Berbick.
“He fought the best of the best and I’ve always said I want to fight the best of the best. And here we are.”
In the Super Middleweight Final in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 28, 2018, Callum Smith knocked out his fellow Briton George Groves in the seventh round to claim the trophy. It was Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Rasheda Ali, who presented ‘The Greatest Prize in Boxing’ to Smith at the King Abdullah Sports City.
“You know, boxing has done so much for my dad and I’m so pleased that the WBSS has embraced my dad’s life and legacy,” said Rasheda Ali. “To see these two champions questing for this prestigious title in my dad’s honour is something very humbling, and my dad would have been deeply proud to be a part of this.”
On October 26 at the famous O2 in London, the first of three finals of Season II of the WBSS, will be battled out between Regis Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs), USA’s WBA ‘Super’ World Champion and WBC Diamond Champion and Scotland’s Josh Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs), the IBF World Champion and WBC Silver Champion. A fight for belts and that trophy, an exclusive club membership and a legacy in boxing.
“I’m confident of going all the way and winning the Ali Trophy,” Taylor has expressed. “It will be a huge buzz to fight for it in front of a huge crowd at The O2! I am looking forward to taking the trophy home.”
Prograis vs Taylor:
Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor have both earned the opportunity to fight for a reward that has a direct link to the greatest boxer in history with exceptional displays of their talents. They entered the World Boxing Super Series as the two highest-seeded boxers in a loaded 140lb bracket, and they lived up to the expectations.
No. 1 seed Prograis secured his spot in the final by outdoing Terry Flanagan on points last October, and then went on to stop Kiryl Relikh in round 6 and take the WBA World title in the semi in late April. Meanwhile, second seed Taylor stopped Ryan Martin in round 7 last November and then proceeded to decision Ivan Baranchyk to claim the IBF World title in May.
The WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final at The O2 in London on October 26 is shown live via Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the U.S.
About the Muhammad Ali Trophy:
The trophy was created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy and adding its connection with the Muhammad Ali, the WBSS has also developed its own theme music created by Matthew Clifford, music that supports the great ambition of a tournament showcasing the best fights in boxing in honour of ‘The Greatest’.
Ali Trophy winners:
2018: Aleksandr Usyk (Cruiserweight), Callum Smith (Super Middleweight).
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