By Matt Lieberman: WBC light welterweight Regis Prograis sent a message to challenger Danielito Zorrilla that he’s going to beat his a** this Saturday, June 17, in their headliner at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prograis-Zorilla card will be shown live on DAZN at 8:00 p.m. ET.
(Photo credit: Chansey Augustine/Team Prograis)
Prograis needs a victory here to put him in a position to fight a unification later this year, potentially against IBF champion Subriel Matias.
Regis had hoped to fight the winner of Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez, but now Teo has emerged as victorious and subsequently announced his retirement, that’s not an option.
Unbeaten Liam Paro had been scheduled to challenge Prograis, but he suffered an injury, so he had to be replaced by Zorilla (17-1, 13 KOs).
It’s not an ideal opponent for Prograis, considering that Zorilla was beaten by Arnold Barboza Jr last year, but given that there were only three weeks to find an opponent, this isn’t a bad replacement. Prograis can use Zorilla as a showcase fight.
Prograis won the vacant WBC 140-lb title last November, defeating Jose Zepeda. In a sign of respect for Prograis’ ability, both Jose Ramirez and Teofimo Lopez chose not to fight him.
In hindsight, the decision by Teofimo not to fight Prograis may have saved his career because if he’d gone in that direction, he likely would have lost.
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“I feel like I’m the best. I’m number one. The Rollie fight was terrible. He fought somebody [Ismael Barrosos] like 60 years old, and the dude was winning the fight, and they stopped it,” said Regis Prograis to DAZN Boxing.
“In my last fight, I fought a killer [Jose Zepeda], and I stopped
him. I just felt like Matchroom [Boxing] was the right place for me to go, and, of course, Eddie [Hearn] is smart. He’s a businessman. He sucked me in with the June 17 at the Smoothie King in New Orleans.
“The average person don’t even know me because I haven’t been really
promoted,” said Prograis.
“Obviously, I’m fighting him [Zorilla], so I got to watch him. I watched
him a few times. The main thing I know about somebody like that is that he’s hungry. He wants to upset me, but that’s just everybody.
“Everybody that fights me is going to come to win. They go do things they never did in training camp. They’re going to train as hard as they can, and that’s kind of what I know about him. He wants to upset me, and he wants the WBC belt.
“I’m number one in the world, so he wants to get that shot. One thing I have to do. I can never underestimate anybody ever. I have to train like a madman every single day.
“I don’t think he’s [Zorilla] under pressure at all. I’m definitely under pressure. I’m the world champion, and I’m fighting in New Orleans. I’m fighting my hometown, so I have all the pressure on my back. I don’t think he has pressure at all because he’s an underdog.
“He’s basically supposed to lose. So he has no pressure, and I have all the pressure, but for me, I embrace that. I know what it comes with, and I embrace that.
“I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t like to like talk on camera and stuff like that. I’d rather look you in your face and talk to you. I don’t want to talk on social media and stuff like that.
“I’d rather look into your eyes, and I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do to you. But train hard because I’m busting my a**, bro, and I’m going to beat your a** out here in New Orleans,” said Prograis.
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