PROGRAIS: I AM BRINGING BIG-TIME BOXING BACK TO NEW ORLEANS
Sat, 03 Jun 2023
WBC 140lb king finally home after nearly five years on the road
Regis Prograis is ready to bring big-time boxing back home to New Orleans – starting with his WBC World Super-Lightweight title defense against Danielito Zorrilla on Saturday June 17 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, live worldwide on DAZN.
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Prograis (28-1 24 KOs) is looking to shine in his first fight at home since beating Terry Flanagan in October 2018 as he aims to land the unification fights he craves in the second half of 2023, with undisputed on his mind in 2024.
‘Rougarou’ fights under the Matchroom banner for the first time on June 17, and with his new partnership with Eddie Hearn, the 34 year old is heavily involved in the rest of the card, ensuring an all-Lousiana bout between New Orleans’ Jeremy Hill (18-3 11 KOs) takes on Baton Rouge’s Mark Davis (19-1 5 KOs) over eight at Lightweight, and Houston-based 2020 Olympian Ginny Fuchs (2-0 1 KO), being advised by Prograis, fights for the third time in the paid ranks on the card against Indeya Smith (6-7-2 1 KO) over eight rounds at Super-Flyweight.
Prograis admits that fighter management and promotion could be in his future, but the WBC king says that there are many more chapters to be written in his own fighting career first, starting with a long-awaited return to the Big Easy.
“The last time I fought in New Orleans it was nice, but this is the Smoothie King Center, it’s on a different level, I’m ecstatic,” said Prograis. “You can’t soak up the moment too much because I still have to go out there and fight, I still need to do that, but it’s really a dream come true because coming up, when I first started boxing, I wanted to fight there - it was a two-part dream, fight at the Smoothie King Center and then at the Superdome, so this is the first big step towards doing something huge in my city.
“We’re starting Rougarou Promotions with this card and with my partnership with Eddie, I feel we’re taking more control and direction not just of my future in the ring, but with other fighters. I said for the undercard ‘I want this guy, I want Ginny’ – that’s what I want to do. It makes sense if we’re bringing big time boxing to New Orleans that we have some fighters from here on the card.
“I don’t know if I want to be a promoter per se, and I feel that I have a long way left in my own career, but right now at home, I do want to have NOLA fighters on the card and to help them shine. I’m in the gym in New Orleans and Houston, I see the talent out there, so when I fight, I want people to see them.
“It’s going to blow it up. We did the Lakefront in 2018, but this is big. Eddie said ‘listen, if we do good, we’re going to keep coming back’. So that’s why we need everyone to come out because it can be a regular thing. This used to be a boxing town, but it faded over the years, so if we do good, I think this will become a regular thing.
“As the champion, you must be even hungrier as those contenders are coming for you and that they want what you got. There are wolves behind me all day long, so my mindset has to be that there’s fighters all over the world that are coming for me and I need to outwork them, out train them, be hungrier than them - I have to be on my A-game every day.”
Prograis defends his World title on a stacked night of action in New Orleans.
Unbeaten Australian Heavyweight Justis Huni (7-0 4 KOs) faces Andrew Tabiti (20-1 16 KOs) over ten rounds, unbeaten pair Shakhram Giyasov (13-0 9 KOs) and Harold Calderon (27-0 18 KOs) meet in an eliminator for the WBA Welterweight crown and Ramla Ali (8-0 2 KOs) defends her IBF Intercontinental Super-Featherweight title against Julissa Guzman (12-2-2 6 KOs).
Criztec Bazaldua (1-0) kicks off the night on Before the Bell against Elroy Fruto (1-1) over four rounds at Lightweight and Aaron Aponte (7-0-1 2 KOs) meets Xavier Madrid (4-2 2 KOs) over eight at Super-Lightweight.
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