Cincinnati’s known about the promise of amateur boxer Duke Ragan for several years but Saturday, August 6 the touted 20-year old enters the pro ranks in Las Vegas on a televised ESPN card
At just 22-years old Duke Ragan has accomplished a great deal in boxing. The Cincinnati, Ohio native spent the past few years honing his skills as a standout performer on Team USA Boxing.
On July 17 Ragan appeared on a Facebook live on Cincinnati-based businessman Randall Wyatt’s Wyatt Live daily morning program and shared a few major announcements. The biggest development is, Ragan is now part of the professional ranks, and he’s slated to face an undetermined opponent on ESPN Saturday, August 8 on a Top Rank promoted card. Additionally, Ragan is now a part of the talented roster of young fighters managed by Rap-A-Lot Records’ James Prince. Prince was also involved with pivotal portions of the careers of undefeated, pound-for-pound multi-division world champions Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward.
Under the tutelage of Prince, young fighters such as former WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson, Bantamweight contender Joshua Greer Jr, as well as Toledo prospect Tyler McCreary have all advanced their careers on ESPN’s platforms. Another fellow Ohioan and former Team USA Boxing product, undefeated Heavyweight Jared Anderson, recently picked up two impressive stoppage wins on ESPN – in June and July televised bouts – as an attraction of Top Rank’s ongoing summer series being held at the MGM Grand.
Similarly to Anderson’s recent bouts, Ragan is likely to debut in Top Rank’s Bubble at the MGM Grand Conference — Grand Ballroom, which is a crowd-free environment. While on Wyatt Live Ragan revealed one of the major reasons for signing with Prince was that the former music mogul presented a credible schedule of fights to be held in the near future. Initially a July 21 date was considered, but with preparations for all fighters being a challenge as gyms reopen, and various boxing activities resume, August 6 enabled Ragan and his team to launch his pro career under the most favorable conditions.
I’m just ready to get the show started, I waited a long time. – Duke Ragan
The upcoming fight allows Ragan to avoid the waiting list other managerial suitors presented him. Ragan also stated that a major plus about Prince’s schedule was that it closely resembles the progression of 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson – who defeated Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO title in fight No. 13. Shakur initially appeared on ESPN’s streaming service, ESPN Plus, prior to headlining on ESPN June 9 to underscore Top Rank, and boxing’s, first live event since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the sports world in mid-March.
Regarding Ragan’s preparation for his debut, he’s been working with his old Team USA Boxing coach Kay Koroma. Quality sparring remains a challenge for fighters, but Ragan mentioned he’s been able to get some work in with former world title challenger Miguel Flores. Flores dropped a unanimous decision to Leo Santa Cruz in his bid for the vacant WBA Super Featherweight championship in November. Few details were shared, but Ragan sounded comfortable with the ability he displayed against a seasoned veteran with 27 total fights.
Lastly, Ragan shared to Wyatt that while his debut is scheduled for a Featherweight max limit of 126 pounds, he’s likely to campaign and pursue his world championship aspirations a division below at Super Bantamweight – or 122 pounds.
Look out for more details on the August 6 bout as information develops.
The host of Wyatt Live, Randall Wyatt, was heavily involved in rebuilding the pro boxing scene in Cincinnati prior to his latest venture, New Era Champs, be halted by the Covid-19 pandemic. His Wyatt Promotions had a few dates tentatively scheduled, and is expected to continue organizing shows in southwest Ohio once state leadership authorizes sports at all levels to resume.
Header photo taken from Duke Ragan’s Instagram account @1duke.ragan