New Faces: Regis Prograis
Weight class: Junior welterweight
Height / reach: 5′ 9ÔÇ│ (175 cm)/ 67 inches (170 cm)
Amateur record: 87-7
Turned pro: 2012
Pro record: 16-0, 13 knockouts
Trainer(s): Bobby Benton
Manager: J Johns
Promoter: DiBella Entertainment
Best night of pro career: Prograis (pronounced “Progray”) impressively beat Amos Cowart and Abel Ramos last year. Unsurprisingly, he picks them as his most impressive outings to date.
“I did good in my last two fights on ‘ShoBox,'” Prograis told RingTV.com. “I had real good performances; I fought two undefeated fighters and blew both of them out.
“The first one [vs. Cowart], I threw 909 punches (landing 381, according to CompuBox) in eight rounds, way over 100 punches around.
“My last fight [vs. Ramos], I fought a tough Mexican. I actually made him quit, I bloodied him up. So I think those last two fights, people saw them, they were on National television, those would be considered my good fights.”
“I didn’t get signed and it was because of my performance. I wasn’t being myself. I study boxing and I was watching boxers and tried to be like them. I have to be myself. I can’t be like that. I tried to do things that aren’t me in the ring. It was a good thing because now I’m with Lou DiBella, so I guess everything worked out for the best.”
Next fight: Prograis returns to “ShoBox: The New Generation” for his third consecutive fight when he faces Mexican Aaron Herrera at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, live on Showtime, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
The well-seasoned young veteran is 29-4-1 (18 KOs), he’s only been stopped once, by Selcuk Aydin in 2013. One of his other losses was against Jason Pagara, when he went the 12-round distance.
Although Prograis will be heavily favored, this fight is an interesting yardstick to see if Prograis is able to get the stoppage or has to go the distance.
“I want to go out there and punish him,” he said. “It sounds kind of mean but I want to be known as a mean fighter. I know he’s a tough Mexican and I want to try to destroy him. I have 10 rounds to do it.”
Why he’s a prospect: Prograis was a solid amateur, among the highlights are winning gold at the 2009 Games of Texas, Ringside World Champion ’09, Southeast Texas Golden Gloves Champion (voted Outstanding Boxer) ’10, U.S Championships State Champion ’10, Houston Open Ring Nationals National Champion ’10, U.S Championships State Champion ’11 and he qualified for the ’11 Olympic trials.
He was at one time ranked as high as No. 4 in the country at 152-pounds.
The Louisiana-born fighter twice met ’12 Olympian and current top prospect Errol Spence Jr., losing on both occasions.
“It was in his hometown; a lot of people thought I won,” he explained. “I thought I lost, so it was real close. The second time, he blew me out. I wasn’t on my game; I was trying to be somebody else and do some other things that wasn’t me, I should have just stuck with being me and stuck with the game plan that got to where I was at.”
He also fought unbeaten welterweight Sammy Vazquez in the unpaid ranks, dropping a decision to him at the Olympic Trials.
Prograis has learned on the job with high-class sparring. The tough love approach appears to be paying dividends.
“When I first came to Houston, Omar Henry and the Charlo twins were going to Nationals and I didn’t have any [amateur] fights and I had to spar with them,” he said. “I was always sparring bigger guys. I think that’s why I became so much better because I used to always spar bigger people with way more experience.”
He also sparred several times with former junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout.
Prograis is a hungry fighter with something to prove. Early in his pro career, he estimates he fought three or four times for free.
He believes he has several strengths, “My mindset. I know boxing like the back of my hand; I think it’s my boxing IQ. A lot of people think it’s my power, my speed. I actually think it’s my mindset, at the same time, my will. I know it’s clich├®d but I would die in the ring. When you think about it, I wouldn’t want to. I have a son; I have a family but I know, if I’m in the heat of the battle, I won’t stop. It’s almost impossible to break my will.”
His manager, J Johns, has known him for around 10 years. The two originate from Louisiana but were introduced to each other at Savannah’s Gym in Houston.
Johns, points out another key tool in Prograis arsenal, “(He’s a) southpaw fighter who uses his jab. He controls bouts with his jabs.”
Why he’s a suspect: When asked what he needs to work on to continue his progress and one day reach his goals, Progais is unsure.
“He needs to keep training hard,” said Johns. “I guess the biggest thing is to calm him down and not want to get in there and bang, make him more of a boxer to prolong his career. Use his ring intelligence because he’s a very intelligent and savvy boxer. He has a heart of a warrior, sometimes he gets in there and bangs, which is good for the fans.”
Looking back he remembers the Hurricane vividly and though it deeply effected him and his family he feels has been able to make something good out of the atrocity.
When he was 17, he settled in Houston and stuck with boxing.“I always had a dream. I kept winning tournaments. At first, nobody paid attention to me but I kept winning and winning,” he said.
“I worked harder than most people because all of my opponents they were fighting since they was 8 years old and I started when I was 17. So I had almost a 10-year disadvantage, so I felt like I had to work harder than everyone else and I guess it’s paid off ’cause of where I am now.”
His nickname is “Rougarou” (pronounced “Roo-gah-roo”). A Rougarou is a legendary half-man/half-beast creature from Louisiana folklore. Prograis enters the ring wearing a Rougarou mask with his signature wolf howl blaring from the speakers in the arena.
The heavy-handed southpaw is a man in a hurry and hopes to test himself against some of the best the junior welterweight division has to offer soon.
“I think hopefully this year or early next year,” he continued. “I feel like I can get in there with some of the best in my division now. It’s up to my manager and promoter to see where I’m at and see what they want to do. As a fighter, I feel like I can beat some of the champions right now but I know I still need experience. I only have 16 fights right now.”
Away from boxing, he’s married and has a son. He says he’s very focused on boxing and, aside from his family, he lives a relatively Spartan existence.
April 28 – Carl Almirol – KO 1
Aug. 25 – Aaron Anderson – KO 4
Nov. 30 – Anthony Little – TKO 2
Jan. 10 – David Green – TKO 2
June 6 – Adauto Gonzalez – UD 4
Oct. 3 – James Harrison – UD 6
Nov. 30 – Miguel Alvarez – TKO 3
April 24 – Felipe Reyes – TKO 6
June 7 – Aaron Anderson – TKO 5
June 27 – Marteze Logan – TKO 2
Oct. 8 – Mario Hermosillo – TKO 4
Nov. 6 – Jeff Humphries – KO 1
Jan. 9 – Hector Velazquez – KO 5
April 17 – Abraham Alvarez – KO 1
Aug. 7 – Amos Cowart – UD 8
Dec. 11 – Abel Ramos – RTD 8
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