Danielito Zorrilla feels motivated by his role as underdog in his fight against Regis Prograis
Talented Puerto Rican Danielito Zorrilla will enter the lion’s den with ideas of upsetting WBC junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis’ homecoming on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Zorrilla, who was the subject of a New Faces in the November 2019 issue of The Ring, was only too happy to step in at a month’s notice when original opponent Liam Paro was injured.
“I’ve been waiting all my life for this opportunity; this is my dream come true,” Zorrilla (17-1, 13 knockouts) told The Ring through Bryan Perez, Executive Director of Miguel Cotto Promotions.
“I’m always training, I’m always at the gym getting ready and when the call came in, I was ready. I just needed to do some adjustments in my training camp with my coach. That’s the good thing about always being in the gym. I’m in great shape and condition and I’m ready to get that title and bring it back to Puerto Rico.”
The 29-year-old sharpshooter isn’t concerned about facing Prograis in the titleholder’s hometown and is planning to spoil the party.
“I think he’s a great fighter, very strong, which he has demonstrated,” said Zorrilla. “We need to be careful with his hands but I’ll be ready for anything he comes with.
“It motivates me to be the underdog, to go into his house and fight, that gives me extra motivation to push and work hard to get the win. I don’t care if I need to fight in his living room, I’ll be ready for him and take the title from him.”
Zorrilla believes his own skill set will off-set what Prograis does and help lead him to victory.
“I think my strengths are my distance, my ability to work inside the ring,” he explained. “I think he only relies on his power; I believe I can do a lot of things besides him. I think I have the ability and strength to get a victory over Prograis.”
Last summer, Zorrilla stepped up in class and lost his unbeaten record to top 10 contender Arnold Barboza. Despite the loss the once-beaten fighter feels he can rebound strongly from his loss.
“I think that defeat that I had gave me more maturity,” he said. “Where my skills are and what to do to become a better fighter. I think it was necessary to prove to myself I have to make some adjustments with my team to get to the goal to become a world champion. I learnt a lot from that defeat and I believe that it taught me a lot.”
Despite a setback last year, Perez still has high hopes for his companies fighter.
“I think Danielito is one of the brightest prospects Puerto Rico has,” said Perez. “He has the ability and strength and confidence to become world champion.
“Obviously, we slipped in a great fight with Arnold Barboza but we still have a lot of confidence in Zorrilla and when the opportunity came up to go after Regis Prograis on June 17, we said, ‘Yes, let’s go for it.’ We know we’re the underdog, we know how everything runs but we truly believe and stand behind Danielito Zorrilla because we think and believe he will become a world champion.”
Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs), The Ring’s No. 1 rated junior welterweight, earned a reputation with some impressive performances on ShoBox against Amos Cowart (UD 8), Abel Ramos (RTD 8) and Joel Diaz Jr. (TKO 2). The southpaw boxer-puncher built on those wins by stopping former unified 140-pound titleholder Julius Indongo (TKO 2) and dominating former lightweight titleholder Terry Flanagan (UD 12).
The New Orleans native won WBA title by taking apart the habitually tough Kiryl Relikh (TKO 6). However, he lost his title in an action-packed unification with IBF ruler Josh Taylor (MD 12) in the final of the World Boxing Super Series. The 34-year-old old bounced back with three wins before impressively picking up the vacant WBC title by impressively stopping Jose Zepeda (KO 11).
This is seen as a homecoming for Prograis, the first of a three-fight deal with Matchroom. He should have too much for Zorrilla but it will be interesting to see how he looks doing so and if he can make a statement.
Prograis-Zorrilla will be broadcast on DAZN, beginning at 7 p.m ET/4 p.m PT.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].