NEW ORLEANS (May 25, 2018) — Regis “Rougarou” Prograis was born in New Orleans and became a fighter in The Big Easy. He never returned home to fight. Until now. Prograis, the World Boxing Council (WBC) interim super lightweight champion, will make his triumphant homecoming against fellow unbeaten Juan Jose Velasco on July 14 at Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans (UNO).
In the co-feature, young knockout artist Teofimo Lopez continues his rise up the lightweight rankings against once-beaten William Silva in a 10-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment, tickets are on sale today.
“I'm thrilled and honored to be fighting back home in New Orleans,” Prograis said. “For the last couple of years, everywhere I've went people have asked, ‘When are you fighting at home?' I'm beyond excited that we can make this happen. The people of New Orleans have supported me from day one, and I love being from here and having the opportunity for the world to see me fight at home.”
“Regis is a superstar in the making. He has all the tools and intangibles to be an international star,” said Lou DiBella, Prograis’ promoter. “I'm very happy to showcase his talents on ESPN on July 14in his hometown of New Orleans.”
“Regis is the most dynamic, articulate and talented new force in boxing today,” said Peter Berg, Prograis’ manager. “He is the future and the future is now.”
“I asked to fight on the big stage, and now I am getting what I wanted,” Lopez said. “I’m grateful to Top Rank and ESPN for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent and take over another show. The takeover is real, ladies and gentlemen. Come July 14, you will see it.”
Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) lived in New Orleans until he was 16 years old but relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. He started boxing seriously after moving to Houston, training alongside future world champions Jermall and Jermell Charlo. Following an amateur career that included nearly 100 fights and a Texas State Golden Gloves title, Prograis made his pro debut in April 2012, winning eight bouts in his first two years in the paid ranks.
On June 25, 2016, Prograis won the vacant NABF super lightweight junior title with a fourth-round stoppage of Luis Florez. He turned heads last June when he knocked down the previously unbeaten Joel Diaz Jr. four times in the second round to score the knockout in a nationally televised main event. In March, as an encore, he steamrolled former 140-pound unified champion Julius Indongo to win the interim world title, knocking him down four time en route to a second-round TKO.
Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs), from Buenos Aires, has fought only twice outside of his native Argentina. This will be his third ring appearance of 2018, as he stopped Sergio Manuel Liendo in the seventh round in February and Jorge Martin Garcia in the second round in May. The 31-year-old has won four of his last five bouts via knockout.
Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs), a 2016 Olympian for his parents’ native Honduras, has had a meteoric rise through the pro ranks since turning in November 2016. Named Yahoo Sports’ 2017 “Prospect of the Year”, Lopez has lived up to the billing in 2018. In February, he shut out the durable Juan Pablo Sanchez over six rounds. On the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares undercard May 12 at Madison Square Garden, Lopez turned into a viral superstar with his first-round knockout of Vitor Freitas. As Freitas attempted to get up, Lopez did the “Take the L” dance from the popular video game Fortnite.
Silva (25-1, 14 KOs), from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has never been knocked out during a nearly 12-year pro career. He has won two straight since his only loss, a 10-round unanimous decision to then-undefeated Felix Verdejo.