Regis Prograis intends to steal the show from Jake Paul-Ben Askren spectacle
Regis Prograis believes he can make a statement at the expense of Ivan Redkach and send out a warning to the other fighters in the junior welterweight division.
Prograis hopes a world title bout will be in play later this year, but he first must take care of business at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The 10-round fight will stream live on Fite.tv (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT) and will precede the main event bout between Jake Paul and Ben Askren.
In his last bout on October 31, Prograis (25-1, 21 knockouts) battered previously-unbeaten Juan Heraldez before stopping him in round 3. The fight was Prograis’ first since losing by majority decision to Josh Taylor in a unification fight over a year ago.
The hard-hitting southpaw fought on the same October 31 card as Mario Barrios, who knocked out Ryan Karl. Prograis was under the impression both fighters would square off had they defeated their respected foes, but nothing was finalized after preliminary discussions took place. Prograis admits he was disappointed a fight did not materialize against Barrios, but was glad to take the opportunity to fight on a high-profile card this Saturday night.
“I’m definitely going to make a statement Saturday,” Prograis told The Ring Monday afternoon. “A lot of fans will be tuning in, especially those who have not seen me before. I’m going to try and steal the show from the main attraction. It’s a good opportunity overall for me and I hope to make new fans in the process.
“Not being able to fight Barrios was a letdown. This opportunity is better than fighting Barrios though. Actually I was promised I was going to be fighting Barrios had we both won our fights. That was the main reason we took the fight. We were promised the fight against him. Then I was told he was going to move up to 147 pounds. Now I’m hearing Barrios is going to fight (Gervonta) ‘Tank’ Davis. It was frustrating for me. But I think I will have lots of fans watching me Saturday and it’s a nice payday too.”
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Prograis now lives and trains in Houston, Texas. The 32-year-old moved to Los Angeles area, training in some of the top gyms before settling at Churchill Boxing Club in Santa Monica.
Prograis received some of the best sparring against some of the top fighters in the sport, but felt the need to go back home to Houston to train. He is more content to train in familiar surroundings and be with his family.
“The gym setting is better in Texas,” said Prograis, who is managed by Sam Katkovski and trained by Bobby Benton. “I love Los Angeles. I realized that I would want to live and vacation in Los Angeles, but I want to live and train in Texas. I got to the top of the division because I was in Texas. I took my first loss while I was in Los Angeles. I came back to Texas and it’s a big difference for me to live there.
“I became a world champion when I wasn’t living like a familiar fighter. I would bike, not take a nap, then train. Since Santa Monica is next to the water, I would go to the beach, then the gym. I did some self-reflection after the loss (to Taylor) and decided to go back to Texas. There’s no stuff out there. I’m living like a fighter. I do want to retire in L.A. though.”
Prograis will be tuning in to the junior welterweight unification fight between Taylor, who owns the Ring Magazine championship, IBF and WBA world title belts, and Jose Ramirez, who owns the WBC and WBO titles. Both fighters will square off on May 22 in Las Vegas.
“I would like to face the winner between Taylor and Ramirez. To me, I think Josh is going to beat Jose, who is a great champion.”
Prograis, who is ranked No. 2 by The Ring, is confident he will face Taylor, but at a higher weight.
Should Prograis not be able to fight for a world title belt at 140 pounds, he will move up to welterweight and campaign in that weight class.
“Josh and I are going to fight again, only this time at 147 pounds. I always ask my trainer about moving up in weight. It’s always one more fight, then the next time, it’s one more fight. I keep getting better and better. People in the gym tell me that I look better in this camp. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the focus level for me. I’m training six days a week and take Sunday’s off.”
“I’m avoided and I know what I am. I’m high-risk, low-reward. I was a world champion, but I’m glad for the opportunity Saturday night. I want to display my new talents, make new fans and stay busy. After the fight against Redkach, my name will be bigger.
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