Home Boxing News Regis Prograis needs to impress to progress his career

Regis Prograis needs to impress to progress his career

Regis Prograis and Danielito Zorrilla. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

WBC junior welterweight champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis 28-1 (24) must make a statement against replacement opponent Danielito ‘El Zorro’ Zorrilla 17-1 (13) at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday night.

The 34-year-old southpaw’s career has drifted in recent years since his lone loss to Josh Taylor 19-1 (13) in a unification bout in the final of the World Boxing Super Series four years ago, going down by majority decision.

He has boxed just four times since with his most recent outing being an 11th round knockout of Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda 36-3 (27) that saw him claim the vacant WBC 140-pound title last November.

Since then Prograis has signed up with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who have promised to plot a career course for him that will land him big fights.

The original opponent for Prograis on Saturday was undefeated Australian southpaw Liam Paro 23-0 (14) before the 27-year-old was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering chronic tendonitis in both Achilles.

That opened the door for 27-year-old Puerto Rican Zorrilla to step in for the shot of a lifetime. Prograis knows that a misstep will derail his career just when he was getting it back on track.

“He’s done more media this week than he’s probably done his whole career,” promoter Hearn said to FightHubTV. “And that’s important because we want to build his profile. So there is a lot of pressure because everyone’s building him up to be the best 140-pounder and people looking at Zorrilla thinking he’s going to slide through him like a knife through butter.

“I think it’s gonna be a tough fight, like this is a very tough kid (Zorrilla). I expect Regis to win but he has also got to make a statement. I’d like to see him win well.”

The junior welterweight division is stacked with talent. Teofimo Lopez 19-1 (13) defeated Prograis conqueror Taylor on points last weekend to win the WBO and Ring Magazine championships. And just one weight class below there are a number of boxers looking to move up from lightweight, including undisputed 135-pound champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 30-0 (15).

“I was seeing if (Haney) is coming (to the fight),” Hearn said. “He’s not coming ’cause he has an appearance that he has to be at Saturday. But I said to him, I joked and said ‘if you don’t want smoke with Regis, I understand.’ And he said ‘no, I think it’s an easy fight for me.’

“So if that’s the case then we’re gonna make him an offer next week if Regis comes through and see if he wants to accept it. We’ve also got Jack Catterall, that’s an important fight for us to make, he’s a big part of our UK stable as well. You’ve got a brilliant fight between Richardson Hitchins and Montana Love, the winner of that could get the fight.

“You’ve got Ryan Garcia if he really wants to fight for the world title. We can walk straight into that fight next. So there’s loads of fights for Regis Prograis out there and we’ll be looking to make the big fights happens, but it’s still must-win on Saturday.”