Staying busy between fights
New Orleans — It’s been nearly three months since his last fight, and WBC Diamond Super Lightweight Champion Regis Prograis is more than ready to get back into the ring. But in the meantime, the Houston-based fighter returned to his hometown of New Orleans to spend some time out and about in the community as he often does.
"It's always important to me," Prograis said. "I'm from here. I definitely always have to give back to my community and inspire the kids. That's the main thing I want to do-- inspire the kids."
The week's schedule for the undefeated (23-0) fighter included visits to the Children's Hospital of New Orleans, Warren Easton High School and the New Orleans Boxing Club.
"The favorite part is just really talking to them," Prograis said. "To be honest, I'm a big kid myself. If you follow me at my house, how I play with my kids and stuff, I'm a real big kid myself. I just like to go out and talk to the kids, play with them and joke around with them."
Prograis is coming-off his unanimous decision victory over Terry Flanagan in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series and is now waiting for his next fight date. His semifinal bout will be against Kiryl Relik, the WBA Super Lightweight Champion out of Belarus. The date has yet to be set and on the World Boxing Super Series web site, the scheduled bout is listed as "Coming early 2019."
"Just waiting is aggravating," Prograis said. "It's real, real aggravating. But it's nothing I can do about it right now. That's the bad thing about boxing that people don't see-- the business side of things. Mike Tyson said a long time ago, 'the easy part is the fighting.' Fighting is the easy part. I come and train every day and I do my thing that I've got to do in the gym. But the people outside of that, the business people, they really control it. They tell you when you're going to fight and all that. So that's kind of the hard part-- to wait around."
Prograis has made it his mission to "bring big-time boxing back to New Orleans," and even in just the past year, there's been a noticeable rise in the sport in the city.
"Regis kicked the door in and we're coming right behind him," said New Orleans boxer Jonathan "JohnBoy" Montrel. "We're going to keep fighting, keep winning and we're all going to be on top."
"That's what I want," Prograis said. "That's the whole thing I want. Like I said, I want to bring the big-time boxing back and I did it already and I want to just continue to keep doing it."
The latest event in the 504 is coming-up Saturday, February 9th at Calliope Coliseum. The "Undefeated Nights" card will feature 10 bouts, stacked with local boxers-- many of whom are undefeated. Fighters on the card include IBA Americas Middleweight Champion Marcus McDaniel (14-0), Jeremy Hill (5-0), Jonathan Montrel (2-0), Iliyan Kolev (1-0) and Sean Hemphill, who is making his professional debut.
"What's so exciting is that we have nothing but local fighters," Montrel said. "We have everybody out of New Orleans Boxing Club going to represent for New Orleans and we're all going to come out victorious."
"The main thing is come and show out," Prograis said. "This is all local people from the city so you've got to support your city. If you want to bring big-time boxing back, you've got to support the fighters in the city. The main thing is come out. I'm going to be there. I'm definitely coming to support."