Regis Prograis gets ready for the World Boxing Super Series

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (second from left) and team. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (second from left) and team. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Two weeks removed from roaming the jungles and beaches of Brazil, Regis “Rougarou” Prograis was spotted in Santa Monica, California, on Wednesday afternoon to start training camp for his next fight.

 

On Thursday, the event was officially announced by the World Boxing Super Series but the first round match-ups for its Season 2 junior welterweight tournament were decided weeks ago. Prograis, 22-0 (19), had the only decision to make as the eight-man tournament’s No. 1 seed and he chose England’s Terry “Turbo” Flanagan to be his first match-up.

 

 

“It was either Terry Flanagan or Ryan Martin and Flanagan, I felt like, was the tougher competition,” Prograis told UCNLive.com at the Wild Card West Boxing Gym. “Like I’ve said, I’m in this to prove that I’m the best and I felt like (Flanagan) was basically the tougher test. He’s a former world champion and only lost that one fight (his most recent, for the vacant WBO title) to Maurice Hooker but he’s rough; he’s tough and gritty. He’s gonna come to fight. Ryan Martin is slick. He’s tall; he’s long but, as far as better resume, Terry Flanagan definitely has a better resume. That’s why I chose him. It looks better on me. First off, I’m expecting to win the whole tournament but I don’t want the easy route because this is the eight best fighters in the world at 140 and I want most people saying that I’m number one – but I want to prove it.”

 

According to Prograis, October 27 is the date for his fight with Flanagan and it will come just three months removed from his most recent fight, a homecoming for the New Orleans, Louisiana, native in the main event of an ESPN card. Prograis dropped Juan Jose Velasco three times en route to an eighth round stoppage victory but there was still plenty to gather for the 29-year-old.

 

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (background) vs. Juan Jose Velasco. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (background) vs. Juan Jose Velasco. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

“I knocked the dude out and stuff like that but I definitely should not have gotten hit as much,” Prograis said about his return home. “A lot of people asked me before the fight if I’d get nervous in front of my crowd and I didn’t know – I didn’t think so – but I definitely did get nervous. My first big fight in New Orleans.”

 

Prograis had a moment while in the tunnel of the Lakefornt Arena. The event, which was co-promoted by Top Rank along with his promoter Lou DiBella, was the biggest stage to date for Prograis, who came up fighting on several “ShoBox” cards, on Showtime, over the past few years. Before every main event of theirs, Top Rank plays “This is Boxing – Legends of the Ring” on the big screen, to ready the ring walks, and Prograis found himself in awe of the moment.

 

 

“Usually I watch that and I’m a fan but then it hit me that – this is me – I have to fight. I’m the one going out there and fighting,” he remembered. “For me, it felt like work. Usually when I fight, it’s fun. I love it. I go in there and I don’t pay attention to anything. But that fight, it felt like work. It was like a first time thing. The first time jitter thing is out the way. In my next fight, I’m going back to New Orleans, so it’s done now and I had to get that out the way.

 

“Before this fight, the five previous fights, I went like 10 rounds total. Out of five fights! And that’s like in two years or something like that. I definitely needed those rounds (against Velasco), especially before this tournament starts. At the end of the day, everything worked out for the best.”

 

Prograis will leave L.A. a couple of weeks from now to finish training camp in his second home of Houston, Texas, where the humidity can help conform the body of the short-and-stocky southpaw. There Prograis will ready himself for a tournament that will end with a unified junior welterweight champion and fulfill the accomplishment that can propel him into the next level. As he mentioned earlier, Prograis proclaimed he’s winning it but he also had an opinion on whom he will ultimately fight to take home the belts and the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

 

“Honestly I think that’s who I’m gonna be in the finals with,” Prograis said about Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk, just after mentioning there was a great chance that Baranchyk will be on the October 27 undercard, for his first-round match-up with Anthony Yigit. Rounding out the tournament, Josh “The Tartan Tornado” Taylor faces Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin and the WBA beltholder Kiryl Relikh takes on Eduard Troyanovsky. Prograis, also known as the “East Beast,” began believing in this predicted final after the WBSS Gala in Moscow, Russia, where the Belarusian slugger told him they would meet in the end.

 

“Everybody is saying Josh Taylor. I think (Baranchyk) can pull off the win over Taylor,” Prograis said. “Ryan Martin can but Taylor has a little more experience. I feel like Ivan can pull it off.”

 

Baranchyk would offer an intriguing action match-up for anyone, let alone Prograis, but this fight would also make for a storied final match-up, as they both came up on the ShoBox series, even sharing a card or two. First Prograis must make it that far and Flanagan is the man he chose to stand in his way. Flanagan, 33-1 (13), comes off his only defeat, which was a close split decision loss for the vacant WBO junior welterweight belt but that fight came off a run in which he defended the WBO lightweight title five times, over the course of two years. Maybe it was a surprise to some for Prograis to choose him over the green blue-chipper but not even in his off-time is the Rougarou looking for the easy route.

 

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (center) and team. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Undefeated junior welterweight contender Regis Prograis (center) and team. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

“I love doing crazy stuff. I think I’m a competitor too, at the same time,” Prograis said about his recent vacation in Brazil, “like a competitor with my own self. That’s how I’m like a adrenaline junkie – I like to push myself. One of the hardest things I did was I swam around a mountain in the ocean. I swam around the whole mountain and it was the hardest swim ever. Swimming is a part of my training but it was super-hard doing that. We swam around the mountain, then went up it, through forests barefoot, then jumped off it. It was fun.

 

“Like I said, I’m a competitor. Doing things most people are scared to do, I like to do. In boxing, I like to compete with other people. For me, it’s like the same satisfaction.”

 

 

 

You can reach Michael Baca II at mikebaca2@gmail.com and follow him at twitter.com/mikebaca2

 

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