Former super lightweight world champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis talked about moving his training camp from Los Angeles back to Houston and more as he previewed his upcoming showdown against unbeaten Juan Heraldez that takes place Saturday, October 31 live on SHOWTIME PPV from Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
“Training camp is going great and I’m thrilled to be back home in Houston with my team,” said Prograis. “I have my best training here. It’s just a strict training camp lifestyle. When I lived in L.A. I had great training, but it’s just a vacation lifestyle that doesn’t work for me right now. Down here in Houston I’m with my long-time trainer Bobby Benton at the Main Street Boxing Gym. There’s no frills in there, it’s always very hot.”
Even from the early days of the pandemic, Prograis was still finding ways to safely stay in shape for an eventual return to the ring. Since moving training back to Houston, he’s continued to responsibly put himself in position to be at his very best on October 31.
“When the pandemic started, I was still living in Los Angeles, so I’d go to the gym late at night and train by myself,” said Prograis. “Since I moved back to Houston, we’ve taken all the protocols to have a safe camp and prepare to our fullest for October 31.”
Prior to the pandemic, Prograis had a fight scheduled against former champion Maurice Hooker, which was cancelled along with numerous other fights on the boxing calendar. Now that he has a fight in place, Prograis is eager to return to what he loves.
“I wanted to fight soon after the Josh Taylor fight, because I always want to be active,” said Prograis. “We had a fight set in April against Maurice Hooker, then the pandemic hit and it was postponed. Now my sights are only set on Juan Heraldez. I can’t wait to fight on October 31. I just love to fight.”
For Prograis, this will be his first time on the pay-per-view stage, an opportunity that he relishes. In addition, the fight will have fans in attendance at Alamodome in San Antonio, giving Prograis a chance to return in front of fans in his home state.
“This is my first time on a pay-per-view and first time fighting on a Premier Boxing Champions card, so I’m very excited,” said Prograis. ” I fought six times on ShoBox: The New Generation and really started to make my name on that series, so to be back on SHOWTIME is a great feeling. I’m thrilled that we’re fighting in front of fans at the Alamodome. It’s only a couple hours away from Houston and I know San Antonio’s a great fight town. It’s going to be a tremendous night.”
In Heraldez, Prograis is matched up against an unbeaten opponent who is looking to use a career-best victory on October 31 to springboard himself into the 140-pound elite that Prograis has long been amongst. Because of that, Prograis knows not to take him lightly heading into their showdown.
“I don’t know too much about Juan Heraldez, but for him this is a great opportunity, so I know he’s going to come into the fight with guns blazing,” said Prograis. “We’ll see what happens once the fight starts. I can box and I can bang, and the way I’m training, I’ll be more than ready for whatever he brings. I’m not big on predictions, but I’ll be victorious.”
Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker will clash on a blockbuster night of action at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on Friday April 17, live on DAZN.
Both men come into the bout on the back of starring roles in two of 2019’s fight of the year contenders. Prograis (24-1 20 KOs) travelled to London in October to take on Josh Taylor in a unification clash and the final of the World Boxing Super Series, with Scotsman Taylor edging out ‘Rougarou’ via Majority Decision in an all-out war.
In July, Hooker (27-1-3 18 KOs) hosted José Ramírez in a unification bout in Dallas, and the pair served up a back-and-forth shootout that Ramirez won via stoppage in the sixth round of a breathless contest.
Now the pair collide at a 143lbs catchweight in a fight that will lead the victor to World title action while the loser will face to tough route back to the summit – and both men know that this is a make-or-break night at a pivotal time in their respective careers.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on April 17 and prove that I’m one of the best fighters in the world,” said Prograis. “Maurice Hooker is a former World champion with a good skill set, but I’m very confident that I will be victorious and begin my march towards becoming a two-time World champion this year. We have a history of bad blood, and this is a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m excited for this fight and I’m glad I’m going right back into a fight with a good competitor.
“I’m very grateful to my team for putting this fight together and to my fans all over the world, thanks very much for your continued support.”
“Regis Prograis came out of the World Boxing Super Series one of the most popular and respected fighters in boxing,” said Prograis’ promoter Lou DiBella. “This fight against Maurice Hooker is not only one of the most anticipated in boxing but also one of the very best that can be made this year.
“Regis is committed to becoming a two-time world champion and a victory on April 17 will put him on a path to proving once again that he’s one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.”
“I’m excited to face a former World Champion,” said Hooker. “In my mind, he is still one of the best out there at 140 pounds which, when I beat him, gives me a chance to show the world I’m also one of the best at this weight. You can bet this fight will get me closer to winning another belt. It’s going to be an exciting match and I’m ready to take him out.”
“Mighty Mo Hooker vs Regis Prograis is what big-time boxing is all about – two former World champions at the top of their game, looking to make a statement and show the boxing world that they’re back with a vengeance,” said Roc Nation Sports boxing promoter Dino Duva. “Mighty Mo has given me a directive to get him the biggest and best fights and wants to remind everyone that he is one of the best and most exciting fighters in the world. This bout is an unbelievable matchup on paper and will be a can’t miss fight of the year candidate. It’s as good as it gets, and boxing fans should not make any other plans on April 17 – this is a can’t miss fight. On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, I salute and thank our good friends and partners at DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA for making this great fight happen and giving the fans such a special treat.”
“This is a fantastic match-up between two fighters that always deliver great fights,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Regis and Maurice more than played their parts in two epic fights last year, and I know that their styles are going to gel to create another all-action battle.
“We will announce a huge undercard with World title action and a host of big names in action soon, it’s going to be another epic night of action live on DAZN.”
Regis “Rougarou” Prograis put on a show for his hometown New Orleans fans, defending the WBC super lightweight diamond belt with an eighth-round TKO over Juan Jose Velasco in front of 3,615 fans at the UNO Lakefront Arena.
Prograis, who was born and raised in New Orleans and moved following Hurricane Katrina, knocked Velasco down with a body shot in the fifth round and kept applying the pressure. It was all over in the eighth round when Velasco’s corner threw in the towel. The homecoming was complete, and it was a success.
“I couldn’t lose here in New Orleans,” Prograis said. “I told my father, if I lost, I couldn’t come back. I had to go out there and fight. I knew I had a hard fight. There was a lot of excitement, but I had to hide that excitement. I had a job to do.”
In the co-main event, promised that it was time for “The Takeover.” And he delivered. Lopez knocked out William Silva in the sixth round to win the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title, punctuating the victory with a home run trot and a backflip. Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) dropped Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) three times, a veteran who had never been knocked out. Following the third knockdown, punctuated by a furious barrage, referee Bruce McDaniel immediately stopped the bout.
Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank