SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 14, 2018 – New Orleans native Regis Prograis lived up to his nickname “Rougarou” in his junior welterweight fight against challenger Juan Jose Velasco. Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) put Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs) down on the canvas multiple times with beastly body shots before Velasco’s corner finally called a halt to the fight in the eighth round.
The colorful 29-year-old southpaw delivered all his hometown fans could have asked for, thoroughly dominating the overwhelmed Velasco, 31. He dropped Velasco in the fourth, fifth, and seventh rounds, the last two via vicious body shots. Velasco wanted to quit after the seventh round. Trainer Herman Caicedo wouldn’t have it, urging Velasco on.
It was an irresponsible decision. Velasco took unnecessary additional punishment to the body, taking a knee and spitting out his mouthpiece. Referee Laurence Cole allowed the fight to continue, but after Prograis came right back at Velasco, Caicedo finally threw in the towel and the fight was finished at the halfway point of the round.
“This dude came in unknown and he’s going to go down to be known,” said Prograis, called Velasco one of his toughest opponents because he refused to quit. “I kept dropping him. He was super tough. He was actually really strong, but I pushed through. I couldn’t lose in front of my hometown.”
Prograis now bound for World Boxing Super Series
The win wasn’t much of a surprise for the impressive Prograis. He now moves on to participate in the junior welterweight competition in the World Boxing Super Series. Prograis enters as the favorite. The series kicks off with Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs) of Belarus against Edward Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs) of Russia in the first quarterfinal. Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) of Russian meets Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) of Sweden in the second quarterfinal.
Prograis joins the other half of the tournament along with Scotland’s Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs), and Ryan Martin of Cleveland (22-0, 12 KOs). The remaining matchups will be announced on Friday.
Prograis named Manny Pacquiao and Jose Ramirez as possible future opponents once he’s completed the tournament. “One day me and Jose Ramirez will probably fight,” said Ramirez. “I wanted it now but we have different paths now.” The three fighters share a promoter in Top Rank, so count on it assuming they all continue their winning ways.
Teofimo Lopez flips out over sixth round TKO
Lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) of Las Vegas lived up to expectations, having no trouble against William Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) of Brazil. The 20-year old former Olympian backs up his braggadocio with terrific power and accuracy.
Lopez came close to finishing Silva off at the end of round one after a solid left hook on the button. He continued to dominate the next few rounds, landing clean punches nearly at win. He scored a second knockdown before the end of the fifth round with another left hook at the end of an impressive combination.
Silva was heading for the exit, and it didn’t take much longer. After several more left hooks and a right hook thrown in as the cherry on top, referee Bruce McDaniel stopped the fight. Lopez tossed an exhuberent back flip in celebration.
Lopez says his powerful jab sets him up for success, a fundamental principle of boxing. “Set him up with the jab, don’t let him hit you with the jab. You play with his mind,” said Lopez. “I was setting him up so I could surprise him with a big shot. I’m (covered) with blood, but it’s his blood.”
Lopez calls it’s “a takeover” of the division at lightweight, saying he’d like to take on pound-for-pound champion Vasily Lomachenko. We admire Lopez’s ambition. But he’s much more likely to get a shot at someone like the winner of the upcoming WBO title defense by Ray Beltran against Jose Pedraza. We can get behind this one – and so can Top Rank, who promotes all three fighters.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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