Amateur star Duke Ragan signs promotional deal with Top Rank
Amateur standout Duke Ragan has signed a multi-year promotional deal with Top Rank, it was announced Monday afternoon.
Ragan, who will also be co-promoted by Antonio Leonard Promotions, will make his professional debut in a four-round featherweight bout August 22 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on the undercard of the light heavyweight clash between Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith.
The 22-year-old decided to turn pro despite losing two close fights at the Olympic Trials last December. With the Olympic Games postponed until next year, who is the father of a three-year-old girl, decided it made economic sense to turn pro.
Ragan, who will be trained by Kay Koroma and managed by James Prince, hopes to become the next star from Cincinnati, Ohio, which has produced stellar world champions in Ezzard Charles, Aaron Pryor and Freddie Miller. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum believes Ragan has the capabilities to become a great fighter.
“Cincinnati has produced countless great fighters, and we believe Duke Ragan will be the next world champion from the ‘Queen City,’” said Arum. “He is mature beyond his years, and with Kay Koroma, James Prince and Antonio Leonard on his team, he has a wonderful support system.”
Even as an amateur, Ragan has sparred against some of the top fighters in boxing that are based out of Cincinnati, including former bantamweight world titleholder and three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren, who also mentors Ragan, along with former world titleholder Adrien Broner. Ragan has also sparred against two-time world titleholder Gervonta Davis and WBO junior lightweight titleholder Jamel Herring.
Ragan captured silver medals at the 2017 World Championships and at the 2019 Pan African Games. He also has amateur victories over fringe featherweight contender Adam Lopez, unbeaten featherweight Ruben Villa, along with unbeaten prospects Lee McGregor, Victor Morales, Jr., and Otha Jones III.
Despite the fallout of not competing for as an Olympian, Ragan believes winning a world title would be just as good, if not better.
“This opportunity means the world to me,” said Ragan. “Since I didn’t go to the Olympics, becoming a world champion is my next goal. My jab, counterpunching ability, and stamina are more suited to the pro game. When I fought with headgear, I was hurting guys but not knocking them out. You’ll see more knockouts from me as a pro.”
“It’s finally my time to shine. I’m proud to be from Cincinnati, and I know bringing home a world championship will put me up there with the top dogs from my city.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing