At almost every step of the way Triller Fight Club’s Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight card was a complete mess. Whether it was seemingly intoxicated members of the broadcast booth, or what felt like hours of musical performances between fights, or simply the fights themselves – most of which seemed barely competitive – the card carried more the air of a carnival spectacle than any kind of sporting event.
That even goes for what was supposed to be the night’s one really legit high level boxing match.
In the co-main event, former WBA super light welterweight champion Regis Prograis took on 23-5-1 Ukranian boxer Ivan Redkach. Prograis quickly put his power on display, stepping in time and time again with big, winging punches and forcing Redkach on the defensive. ‘Rougarou’ seemed well on his way to a dominating victory when, halfway through the sixth round, he caught Redkach with what appeared to be a firm blow to the body. Redkach collapsed in a heap, clutching his groin, however, and eventually was stretchered from ring.
With seemingly every replay showing that the punch didn’t come near to being a low blow, it’s difficult to know exactly what was going through Redkach’s mind in the moment. If he’d been hoping to pick up a DQ win over Prograis, however, the commission wasn’t at all interested in playing along.
Originally ruled a technical decision in favor of Prograis (since the supposed foul came after the midway point of the 10-round fight) that result has now been overturned. The Georgia State Athletic Commission has handed Prograis a TKO victory instead, but not necessarily because they don’t believe Redkach got hit below the belt. Rather, the state’s boxing regulations clearly say that in situations where unsportsmanlike conduct is not suspected, a ‘claim of a low blow’ that results in the end of the fight will be ruled a technical knockout.
“If a contestant falls to the ring floor or otherwise indicates indicates an unwillingness to continue because of a claim of a low-blow, he shall be declared the loser by a technical knockout.” (h/t CombatSportsLaw)
Official boxing record keeper BoxRec.com reported the change in outcome from technical decision to TKO in a post on Twitter.
FYI: I received the official results of the Prograis fight this morning which stated it was a technical decision. After talking to the Georgia commission this morning, they admitted it was a mistake. The result has been changed to @RPrograis winning by TKO6.— Waiting to Rank Efe Ajagba In the HW Top Ten (@BoxrecGrey) April 19, 2021
This isn’t the first time Redkach has been involved in some strange controversy for his in-ring performances. Last year, in a bout against former WBC, WBA, and Ring champion Danny Garcia, Redkach bit Garcia in the 8th round of their fight. Surprisingly Redkach was allowed to continue the bout, losing to Garcia by unanimous decision.
In this case, Redkach’s claims of a low blow provided a swift and strange end to the night’s most technically exciting contest. Shortly afterward, in the main event, Jake Paul made quick work of former ONE & Bellator champion, Ben Askren—with the fight waved off after Askren went down hard midway through the first round.