Regis Prograis owns a belt in the junior welterweight class and, full disclosure, I had to double-check which one he holds.
That’s too bad; Prograis (23-0, with 19 knockouts), at 30 years old, is one of the brightest American up ‘n’ comers in the pro pugilism sphere. However there shouldn’t be such a construct which has too many title belts floating about, leaving us unsure about whom holds one.
Prograis, who fights WBA titlist Kiryl Relikh on April 27 in Louisiana, his native base, visited the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast to talk about his foe, where he stands in the division and where he sees himself in the near-future.
So yes, he holds the WBC “Diamond” title (unrecognized by RingTV.com and The Ring Magazine) and Jose Ramirez holds the WBC’s “main” crown. We can hope, I guess, that consolidation occurs and there is a showdown for the WBC straps…but before that, Prograis has to settle it with the Belarussian Relikh, as part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Prograis downed Terry Flanagan in the tourney opener last October and he sounded quite optimistic that he’d also snag a victory in the Relikh bout.
“I feel like this could be my biggest fight to date,” the DiBella Entertainment fighter said of the tango with Relikh, who took the WBA 140-pound title when he downed Rances Barthlelemy last May. He defended against Eduard Troyanovsky in October, for the record. Both wins were unanimous decisions. The consolidation mash-up will unfold in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is close to Houston, where Prograis trains, and New Orleans, Louisiana’s focus point.
This will be the third straight bout in Louisiana for Prograis and he’s now over the hometown jitters. “Now I’m over it, fighting in front of my family and friends, and now I think I’ll be perfectly fine,” Prograis said.
Yeah, he will have to fend off people asking for free tickets but it’s worth it to have passionate rooters cheering him on.
“Relikh is a come-forward fighter, very strong fighter. He’s good but, at the end of the day, really, I don’t study my opponents,” Prograis continued. “I saw him fight one time, in person, in San Antonio, when he won his belt…He’s another man; he’s going to come to try and take my head off and that’s what I’m going to try and do to him. That’s all I really need to know – and he’s a champion and he has something I want, which is that WBA title.”
We also touched on breaking news and former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor announcing he was retiring from mixed martial arts. That news dropped Tuesday morning and then later that afternoon, we heard of allegations of sexual assault against the Irishman. What if McGregor was wanting to do boxing instead of MMA, to increase his earning power? “I think it’s a horrible idea. He’d get whupped real bad. I think any boxer would just beat him, basically. Boxing is a different sport. He fought Floyd (Mayweather Jr.) and Floyd stopped him and Floyd fought like an old man that night. He looked like an old man. He got hit with a lot of stuff. He just walked him down and just beat him up and Floyd was way smaller than him. McGregor don’t need to come to boxing; he’d definitely get hurt by just a journeyman fighter.”
We stayed on Floyd for a bit. Prograis thinks if Floyd does come back, it will or would be against Manny Pacquiao “or somebody else that’s old or another MMA fighter.” Prograis said Mayweather was smart, wisely picking foes of late. If Mayweather fought a young lion, Regis said, “I definitely think Floyd would get hurt, if he came back and fought one of those young champions.”
Regarding the status of the WBSS and whether or not IBF counterpart Ivan Baranchyk will take part in his leg of the tourney: “We are still trying to find out right now what Baranchyk’s gonna do. I don’t know what’s going on with him. It’s kind of in limbo, what he’s doing.”
OK, so Maurice Hooker holds the WBO 140-pound strap. “(Hooker)’s not that good of a fighter; me and him always had words back and forth…To me, he’s just an OK beltholder; he just has the belt for right now,” Prograis said. He’d be happy to try to secure Hookers’ strap, he said. “Hopefully he keeps his belt so I can take it from him.”
More good stuff from Prograis, he and his cousin grabbed boxing gloves off the shelf at a sporting goods store in California, after they bought a ping-pong table. Patrons at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Santa Monica looked on with jaws dropped, the Louisianan relayed to us. “Nobody even stopped us; they just looked because they were terrified,” he admitted.
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Me and @e.l.primo had a fight last night at Big 5 Sports Store
And what about the not-so-near-future? Will Regis look to go to welterweight soon? “Whenever I take care of what I gotta take care of at 140,” he said. And at 147, who is he looking at? Whom does he believe he could match up well against? He said he called out three-division champion Terence Crawford at 140, when he as green, and he’d love that now, as he’s more seasoned. IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. is probably the best at 147 now, Prograis shared, and he’d be happy to scrap with him, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter or Adrien Broner.
We finished up asking for a prediction on Relikh-Prograis. “Man, nobody beat me, bro. That’s the main thing,” he said. “I feel like nobody can beat me right now. I’m not gonna be beat. I want these titles. I’m very hungry. I’m gonna take these titles home. Every time I step in the ring, I fight for a title. No matter who’s stepping in front of me, I’m taking that title back with me.”
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