Boxer Regis Prograis works out with trainer Bobby Benton at the New Orleans Boxing Club in preparation for an Oct. 27 bout against former lightweight champion Terry Flanagan at UNO Arena in New Orleans, La., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Advocate photo by SHAWN FINK
Need proof that Regis Prograis is training hard for his Oct. 27 World Boxing Super Series Super Lightweight quarterfinal against Terry Flanagan?
In New Orleans Wednesday for a media appearance promoting the bout at Lakefront Arena, Prograis was sporting a sizable shiner on his left eye, the product of a sparring session the day before in Houston where the New Orleans native now lives and trains.
“He caught me with a little pop,” Prograis said. “But my training camps are like that.
“I’ve been sparring for the last two days so my body is real dead right now. No excuse though.”
Actually, Prograis has one.
He was going against no ordinary sparring partner. It was Taras Shelestryuk, the 2012 Olympic welterweight bronze medalist who as a pro is 16-0 with 10 knockouts.
“We don’t just get sparring partners,” trainer Bobby Benton said. “We want guys who can give Regis all he can handle.”
No advance scouting
Although he will be facing WBA champion Kiryl Relikh in the WBSS semifinals should he defeat Flanagan, Prograis said he did not watch Relikh’s quarterfinal victory against Eduard Troyanovsky last Sunday.
“It was at what? Six o’clock?” Prograis said. “I wasn’t going to wake up for that.”
But even if the fight had been held at a more suitable time, Prograis said he doubts he would have watched it. That’s routine for Prograis who generally leaves the scouting duties to his trainer, Benton.
“I know what he (Relikh) looks like,” Prograis said. “We sat together in Moscow when they announced the tournament.
“Everybody was kinda measuring everybody else up. But I’m not worried about that dude; I’m only looking forward to this fight.”
No Rodriguez? No problem
Jose Ramirez, with whom Prograis shares the WBC title with (it’s complicated) is skipping the WBSS.
But that doesn’t bother Prograis.
“This tournament is the perfect platform because whoever comes out is the best 140-pound fighter in the world,” he said. There are a lot of belts and title holders, and you might get three or four different answers about who’s the best.
“After this tournament, there won’t be any doubt. I wanted Ramirez to be in the tournament and to be my first fight, but he had other things going on.”
Prograis’ plan is to fight Ramirez after the tournament, which wouldn’t happen until at least a year from now. Or, if things work out differently, he challenge welterweight champion Terrence Crawford.
In most title fights, if one of the participants pulls out, especially in the days immediately before the scheduled event, there’s no fight.
That won’t happen in the WBSS.
If either Prograis or Flanagan, or Ivan Baranchyk or Anthony Yigit, who are meeting in the other WBSS Super Lightweight quarterfinal (although the winners won’t face each other in the semis) on the card, can’t go, he will be replaced by Subriel Matias.
If not, Matias will fight another potential replacement foe. Matias was to have met Francisco Rojo, but Rojo pulled out this week, perhaps frightened away by Matais’ 11 knockouts in as many fights.
“Nobody wants Matais,” said Kerry Daigle, who’s putting together the rest of the undercard. “The important thing to remember is that this is a tournament and there will be two tournament fights that night.
“This isn’t one you just put off until later.”
Local fighters on the rest of the undercard include lightweight Jonathan Montrell of New Orleans who made a successful pro debut when Prograis last fought on July 14, heavyweight Jonathon Guidry of Cut Off, another winner on the July 14 card and middleweight Iliyan Kolev, a one-time member of the Bulgarian junior national team who is making his pro debut after spending the last two years as a student at Delgado.
“I came here for business, but I also want to continue boxing,” said Kolev, who trains at the New Orleans Boxing Club. “I’ve trained every day since I’ve been in America and I am ready to become a professional.”