After Regis Prograis’ successful defense of his WBA interim super lightweight championship at Lakefront Arena in July, he emphasized his desire to continue bringing big-time boxing back to his native New Orleans.
He’s getting his wish.
Prograis will meet Terry Flanagan of England on Oct. 27 in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series, again at Lakefront.
The official announcement was Thursday. Tickets, starting at $30, go on sale Friday though TicketMaster.com and at the arena box office.
“I’m very excited to fight again at home,” said Prograis, who now lives and trains out of Houston. “The people in New Orleans have been my biggest supporters, said Prograis, who now lives and trains out of Houston. “This is not just for me, but for the city and the other fighters from Louisiana who are going to be on the card.
“This is not just on the national stage, but the world stage. October 27 will be a very special night.”
Prograis (22-0, 19-0 KOs) is the top seed in the eight-man, single-elimination tournament. WBSS, based in Switzerland, is also staging bantamweight and cruiserweight tournaments, all three of which will culminate in championship fights for the Ali Cup in 2019.
Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs) is a former lightweight champion who lost a split decision to Maurice Hooker in June for the WBO 140-pound title in his first defeat.
“Flanagan’s tough and rugged,” Prograis said. “He’s going to come to fight. I want to fight the best people I can fight, and he (is) definitely that.”
The Prograis-Flanagan card will include another WBSS quarterfinal, which could be a super lightweight bout or in one of the other divisions. It is expected to be announced shortly.
It also will include two undercard bouts featuring fighters who can step up if one of the main-events fighters is injured.
“That’s a good thing about the World Boxing Super Series,” Prograis said. “It’s going to be totally different from what people are used to. The last one was nice, but this is going to be a way better show. The way they lay out (the) show is something special.”
One of the other super lightweight quarterfinals, WBA titleholder Kiryl Relikh (22-2) of Belarus against Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1) of Russia, will be Oct. 7 in Yokohama, Japan.
The other 140-pound quarterfinal bouts are WBC silver title holder Josh Taylor (13-0) of Scotland against American Ryan Martin (22-0) and IBF titleholder Ivan Baranchyk (18-0) of Belarus against Anthony Yigit (20-0) of Sweden.
The WBSS also announced Thursday that one of the other six quarterfinal doubleheaders will be Oct. 20 in Orlando, Florida, featuring bantamweights Emmanuel Rodriguez and Jason Maloney and cruiserweights Yunier Dorticos and Mateusz Masternak.
An Oct. 13 card will happen in Ekaterinburg, Russia, featuring bantamweight titlist Zolani Tete of South Africa defending his belt against Russia’s Mikhael Aloyan.
The other quarterfinal doubleheaders will be Nov. 3 and Nov. 10.
Leo Margules, president of Warriors Boxing & Promotions, which is handling the U.S. portions of the tournaments, said staging the Prograis-Flanagan fight in New Orleans was an easy decision.
“Regis is a superstar,” he said. “He not only has great boxing skills, but is also a real personality with tremendous charisma. He’s proven that he can draw fans and as the No. 1 seed in the tournament deserve this.”
Prograis’ last fight, an eighth-round knockout of Juan Jose Velasco, was also at Lakefront Arena. It drew an announced crowd of 3,612.
“That was big,” Prograis said. “But this is bigger. We need the whole city to come out and get triple the amount of people that were there last time.”
After taking some time off following his last fight, Prograis recently resumed training, only in Los Angeles instead of Houston.
Should Prograis defeat Flanagan, his semifinal bout would likely be in New Orleans sometime early next year.
Prograis, 29, has said that after the tournament he hopes to meet WBA 140-pound co-champion Jose Ramirez, who is defending his belt against Antonio Orozco on Sept. 14 and is not participating in the tournament.
Prograis added he then plans to move on to challenge welterweight titleholder Terrence Crawford, generally considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“It’s all there for Regis,” said Margules, a Tulane graduate who has promoted boxing for more than 30 years. “He’s just got to keep winning. This tournament is a step up for him. But he’s got the ability and desire to do it.”
by Ted Lewis