Eddie Hearn is confident that his new signee, Regis Prograis, will be able to garner a significant fight or two under his promotional aegis.
The head of Matchroom admitted in a recent interview that there is considerable burden on his company to ensure that the WBC 140-pound titlist from New Orleans gets the “big fights” that he has long called for.
It was announced last week that Prograis, 34, had entered into a three-fight deal with Matchroom. The first fight on that deal will take place June 17 against Australia’s Liam Paro at Smoothie King Center in Prograis’ hometown of New Orleans.
The deal took some by surprise as many of the top 140-pounders are aligned with Las Vegas-based Top Rank, including WBO titlist Josh Taylor, Teofimo Lopez, Jose Ramirez, Arnold Barboza Jr., and Jose Pedraza. Prograis, who has had trouble staying active for the past several years, entertained a competing offer from Top Rank that was thought to be more lucrative albeit for more fights.
Despite his seemingly lackluster roster at 140, Hearn believes that he will be able to deliver a meaningful fight to Prograis by the third fight on their contract. His company is currently trying to woo 140-pound titlist Subriel Matias.
Hearn also noted that there could be other fighters that enter the Matchroom promotional fold in the future as a possible opponent for Prograis, such as the undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, a former Matchroom client who is currently promoted by Top Rank. Prograis himself has noted that the possibility of facing Ryan Garcia played a part in his decision to sign with Matchroom. Garcia is promoted by Golden Boy, which, like Matchroom, has an output deal with the streaming service DAZN.
“Devin Haney’s a free agent after the [May 20 Vasiliy] Lomachenko fight, so we’ll see,” Hearn told Boxing News. “Ryan Garcia’s with DAZN. And then from there you’ve got our guys. You’ve got Paro, you’ve got [Stevie] Sparks, you’ve got [Gabriel Gollaz] Valenzuela, you’ve got Jack Catterall. We have Richardson Hitchins, Montana Love, so we’ve got loads of guys.
“That’s fine for this year in the next two fights but we do need to land the big fights and that’s on us. And if we can’t, we’ll probably lose him. So, the pressure’s on and we’ll deliver.”
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing
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