WBC interim light welterweight champion Regis Prograis punched his ticket to the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament with a brutal body assault that resulted in an eighth-round TKO of Juan Jose Velasco on Saturday in front of his hometown fans at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.
One of boxing’s fastest-rising stars and a fighter with lead in his hands, Prograis (22-0, 19 KOs) wasted little time pressing forward and walking down the previously undefeated, yet untested, Velasco (20-1). Try as he might, Velasco had very little ability to stop Prograis from delivering power shots early and often.
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Not only was Prograis busier, he was also making deposits to the body with plans to cash out when the time was right.
Unfazed by his opponent’s punches, Prograis gave Velasco trouble by landing a chopping left hand that staggered him in the fourth round and sent him back to the corner visibly hurt. Smelling blood in the water, Prograis unleashed a wicked left hook to the body that put Velasco on the canvas in the fifth round. Somehow, Velasco managed to get to his feet and escape the round, but the end was elementary.
Two rounds later, Prograis connected again to the body and crumbled the Argentinean. There is much to be said about the heart of Velasco, who once again willed himself off the canvas, but he made it clear to his corner that he was finished between rounds.
With his cornerman urging him to continue on, Velasco was sent back into the slaughter in the eighth. A devastating two-punch combination to the body dropped Velasco once again. Although Velasco was clearly overmatched and overwhelmed, he still made it to his feet, but the dejected look on his face suggested that he was fighting on pride alone and no longer wanted to be in the ring.
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Prograis charged again and launched a vicious barrage of punches that forced Velasco’s corner to mercifully throw in the towel and rescue their fighter at 1:59 of the round.
“This dude came into this fight unknown but he’s going to go down being known,” said Prograis, who still hasn’t gone past eight rounds in his boxing career. “I’m not going to lie, he was one of my toughest fights. I kept dropping him and he kept getting back up. He was very tough and super strong, but I couldn’t lose in front of my hometown.”
With the World Boxing Super Series — which will stream its second season on DAZN — on the horizon, Prograis is ready for what is to come, but he also made it clear that if Manny Pacquiao or Vasiliy Lomachenko were interested in testing the waters at 140, he’d happily oblige.
“If an opportunity presents itself, maybe a Pacquiao fight or a Lomachenko fight, (then) I’d love to have either fight, but right now my plans are to go to the World Boxing Super Series.”
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