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Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren preview: Regis Prograis, Frank Mir’s boxing debut top undercard lineup

Bloody Elbow previews the legitimate (and not so legitimate) boxing featured on the undercard of Paul vs Askren.

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The main event of Saturday’s PPV on Fite.tv may be Jake Paul’s novelty fight with Ben Askren (which stands a high chance to be an awful clinchfest) but there is some notable boxing on the card, particularly former super-lightweight champion Regis Prograis’ co-main event fight with Ivan Redkach.

Prograis (25-1, 21 KOs) came up just a bit short of becoming the #1 super-lightweight in the world in the World Boxing Super Series final against Josh Taylor. Prograis lost a competitive but clear decision but the fight was a fight of the year contender and Prograis is indisputably second only to Taylor at the weight. Prograis rebounded from the loss with a 3rd round stoppage of undefeated but unproven Juan Heraldez back in October of last year. Prograis is a flashy, athletic southpaw who likes to use his head movement to set up a powerful counterpunching game.

His opponent this week end is Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs). Redkach is most notable for retiring former super-lightweight and welterweight title older Devon Alexander back in 2019 and his recent loss at the hands of Danny Garcia. Redkach is a southpaw, which Prograis is a bit less comfortable fighting than orthodox fighters, but he doesn’t have much beyond his 1-2. Redkach is too limited to really trouble Prograis and is the caliber of opponent that should make Prograis look very good. The fight isn’t likely to be very competitive but it is a good opportunity for Prograis to showcase his spectacular style and shine in front of the new audience lured in by Paul vs Askren.

Former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs) is also returning to the ring to fight Frank Mir (0-0) of all people. Fighting a former high level boxer when you are a way past his prime submission specialist whose MMA fights ended with a medical professional asking you if you knew where you were roughly 33% of the time is questionable to say the least. However I can’t help to be in awe that someone managed to get the biggest “who thought this was a good idea?” boxing debut on a card featuring Ben Askren.

The highlight of the undercard is 21 year old super-middleweight prospect Lorenzo Simpson (9-0, 5 KOs). Simpson is a very technically clean southpaw who packs a decent punch. He is still slowly ramping up his competition level with a fight with Argentine veteran Francisco Emanuel Torres (16-3, 5 KOs). The road is still long for him but he’s a prospect to keep an eye on and big things could be in his future.

Paul vs Askren airs on PPV via Fite.tv on Saturday April 17th at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT.