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The Growing Legend of Regis Prograis

Kelsey McCarson




Call him Rougarou.

There are many different origin stories surrounding the creature called the Rougarou, and these mythic tales are as diverse as the many king cake traditions that exist throughout New Orleans and the rest of the French-settled communities around the world.

To some, Rougarou is a legendary creature who patrols the New Orleans city limits at night devouring whoever comes in his path. Some people associate it with a kind of werewolf. To others, it is more like a vampire but with the head of an animal.

But to Regis Prograis, it’s something as simple as a swamp monster, and perhaps the mystery of the creature under that connotation makes the Rougarou the scariest thing of all. It has no origin. It has no form. All it does is wreck things.

It’s no wonder a fighter such a Prograis would choose such a thing as his moniker. Prograis doesn’t care if you know very much about him at all. All he does is wreck things and he knows that the story of boxing’s Rougarou, the swamp monster from New Orleans who fights out of Houston, will someday be added to the lore.

Prograis met with the media on Thursday, April 11, at the Main Street Boxing & Muay Thai Gym in Houston to talk about his upcoming world title fight against Kiryl Relikh. It’s one of the semi-final bouts of the 140-pound World Boxing Super Series tournament, where Prograis is favored by oddsmakers to seize Relikh’s WBA title before moving on to the finals against either IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk or Scottish phenom Josh Taylor.

“I can’t wait to go out there and get my title,” said an excited Prograis about competing in his first world title fight against Relikh on Saturday, April 27, at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Lousiana. “That’s why I signed up. It’s the best people fighting the best.”

Prograis only transforms into his swamp monster alter-ego on fight night. Outside of the ring, he’s a mixture of quiet confidence and aggressive introspection. He pays serious attention to his craft but he’s also polite and thoughtful.

And while many fighters in the sport are hallmarks of discipline, souls who have crawled up out of life’s fractured gutters into something more akin to the light of an ordered purpose, there’s something about Prograis that just seems above even all that.

Bobby Benton, the fighter’s trainer, said Prograis is the kind who immediately impresses people, and it was true that nothing happened on Thursday to discredit him.

“My first memory of him was that he was out at the park at like five o’clock in the morning running,” said Benton. “He was only 16 years old back then, and I told his manager right then that this kid was going to do something special.”

Benton has trained Prograis, who was uprooted by Hurricane Katrina, for around five years now. Benton said Prograis is an aggressive worker, one who consistently exceeds all expectations. Wielding a single-minded approach to becoming the best fighter he can be, Benton said he’s seen Prograis constantly improve himself over the course of their time together and the fighter echoes the same.

“I’ve been studying the lives of great fighters for years,” said Prograis. “Not only inside the ring, but out. I study their lives so I can learn from what they did right and what they did wrong. Why would I want to go through something if I don’t have to?”

The result has been marvelous. Prograis is a true rarity in boxing, a pressure-fighting southpaw who slips and parries punches while moving forward in a patiently destructive way that might even make the great Roberto Duran feel proud.

And while Prograis seems destined to become a world champion, he’s unabashedly confident his career will turn out to be more. In fact, when asked who his dream fight would be out of any fighter in the world today, he did not hesitate to name the toughest in the sport, Terence Crawford.

“I want to compete. There’s a lot of fighters out there who don’t want to risk their winning records, but for me, I want to risk that. I want to compete with the best. It’s for my legacy.”

While there were not a hoard of media watching his every move on this day, Prograis is almost certain to be experiencing that kind of thing soon. After all, the more a fighter wins and the brighter the lights are when they do, it tends to attract throngs of sudden well-wishers and reporter-types hoping to break into an ever competitive news cycle.

The lives of professional boxers are amazingly unique in this way. Fighters are basically nobodies for the majority of their careers and then suddenly they become listed among the biggest celebrities on the planet.

Prograis was unmoved by the lack of attention he received on Thursday where a small Louisiana newspaper sent only one photographer and a local Houston television station sent a single cameraman to go along with three or so more people representing various online boxing media outlets.

To be blunt, I’ve seen fighters in such circumstances visibly upset they’re not getting the attention they either crave or think they deserve, but to Prograis it didn’t matter who was there or how many. He seems the type who is as authentic with one as he is with a thousand.

“What kind of kid is out there that early at five in the morning before school?” asked Benton with amazement in his eyes all these years later after his first encounter with Prograis.

While we didn’t say it, both of us were probably thinking the same thing. The kind who isn’t promotional hyperbole. The kind who wins world championships. The kind who simply is the truth.

A man in the midst of becoming a legend. Prograis, the Rougarou.

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Fast Results From Latvia: Mairis Briedis and the KO Doctor advance in the WBSS

Arne K. Lang



briedis vs glowacki

The semifinal round of the Wold Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament played out today in Riga, Latvia, the hometown of Mairis Briedis who was matched against Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki. Both fighters had only one blemish on their ledger and in both cases their lone defeat came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk.

The fans left happily after Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) knocked out Glowacki (34-2) in the third frame. But it was messy fight that invites a lot of second-guessing and likely a challenge from the Glowacki camp.

After a feeling-out first round, Briedis cranked up the juice. An errant elbow landed behind Glowacki’s head, putting him on the canvas. For this discretion, Briedis was docked a point. A legitimate knockdown followed — Glowacki was hurt — and then another knockdown after the bell had sounded. The referee could not hear the bell in the din. It was a wild scene.

The fight was allowed to continue, but didn’t last much longer. Coming out for round three, Glowacki wasn’t right and Briedis pounced on him, scoring another knockdown, leading referee Robert Byrd to waive the fight off at the 27 second mark. It wasn’t Byrd’s finest hour.

The tournament organizers anticipated the complication of a draw and assigned extra judges to eliminate this possibility. They did not anticipate the complication of a “no-contest.” If the outcome isn’t overturned, Briedis, a former WBC cruiserweight champ, is the new WBO title-holder.


In the co-feature, Miami-based Cuban defector Yunier Dorticos, nicknamed the KO Doctor, lived up to his nickname with a smashing one punch knockout of previously undefeated Andrew Tabiti. The end for Tabiti came with no warning in round 10. An overhand right left him flat on his back, unconscious. Referee Eddie Claudio didn’t bother to count. The official time was 2:33.

It was easy to build case for Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs). He was three inches taller than Tabiti, packed a harder punch, and had fought stronger opposition. But it was understood that Tabiti, now 17-1, had a more well-rounded game. Moreover, there were concerns about Dorticos’ defense and stamina.

Dorticos was ahead on the scorecards after nine frames. He rarely took a backward step and let his hands go more freely. And it didn’t help Tabiti’s cause that he was docked a point for holding in the sixth frame. Earlier in that round, an accidental clash of heads left Dorticos with a cut over his right eye. The ringside physician was called into the ring to examine it and let the bout continue.

With the victory, Dorticos became the IBF world cruiserweight champion and moved one step closer to acquiring the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy in what will be, win or lose, the most lucrative fight of his career.

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Angel Ruiz Scores 93 Second KO in Ontario, CA




Angel Ruiz

(Ringside Report by Special Correspondent Tarrah Zeal) ONTARIO, CA – “Path to Glory” featured some of Southern California’s hottest prospects carving their image into the boxing world through the Thompson Boxing Promotions platform at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA Friday night.

Undefeated welterweight prospect Angel Ruiz (14-0, 11 KO) of Maywood, CA finished veteran Miguel Zamudio (43-13-1, 27 KO) from Los Mochis, Mexico with an impressive stoppage at 1:33 in the first round scheduled for eight.

At 21 years young, Ruiz (pictured) came into the night with four KO wins in his last four bouts and looking to continue his streak. A second-round body shot win over Gerald Avila (8-17-3) on May 10th and first round KO win against Roberto Almazan (8-9) just this year.

Ruiz was just getting started in the ring using his long distance and power punches to punish Zamudio.

Twenty seconds into the opening round, Ruiz’ mouthpiece went flying out and a timeout was called. Once the mouthpiece was placed back in, Ruiz administered a quick flurry of punches but with no exchange from Zamudio, referee Raul Caiz stepped in and stopped the main event fight.

After the fight interview Ruiz was asked about what he saw in the fight, “I see this guy. He wants to fight. He was trying to fight but I’m too hard. I got you.” Ruiz said. “I feel ready. I want to fight with the best.”

With 89 amateur bouts under his belt, although not signed with any promoters, Ruiz is verbally challenging Vergil Ortiz, “Vergil if you see this video, remember me”.


In he co-main event, a six round junior middleweight bout, Richard “Cool Breeze” Brewart (6-0, 2 KO) of Rancho Cucamonga, CA won a unanimous decision over Antonio “El Tigre” Duarte (2-1) of Tijuana, Mexico.

Brewart was coming into the fight looking like the faster, more technical fighter of the two. Duarte over-telegraphed all of his punches, allowing Brewart to use his overhand right and awesome agility to angle out of reach.

Even after Duarte checked Brewart on the chin with a strong punch, Brewart’s power punches always ended the rounds. The judges scored the bout 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Brewart.

Other Bouts

A victorious unanimous decision at the end of a six-round toe-to- toe bantamweight fight was given to Mario “Mighty” Hernandez, (8-1-1, 3 KO) of Santa Cruz, CA over lefty Victor “Lobo” Trejo Garcia (16-11-1, 8 KO) from Mexico City, Mexico.

Continuous hard punches were exchanged from both brawlers starting at the bell of round one. Fans were excited after a flurry of punches and then a clear push from Hernandez sent Trejo to the floor at the end of round three, giving the crowd excitement for the coming rounds.

It deemed to be a bit of a challenge for both, as orthodox Hernandez managed to match southpaw Trejo’s overhand right punches with his own in response. After six rounds of continuous action two judges scored the bout 57-56 and one 59-54 for Hernandez.

In what would be an exciting and entertaining four-round heavyweight bout, Oscar Torrez (6-0, 3 KO) from Riverside, CA took on Allen Ruiz (0-2) of Ensenada, Mexico.

A surprising uppercut from Ruiz, in the beginning of round one, put Torrez on the canvas and every eye in the room were all fixated on both brawlers. The look in Torrez’ eyes were more calculated, as he was careful from then on.

Wild punches were being thrown from Ruiz without fear of repercussion, but then a quick liver shot from Torrez sent him to his knees. After a couple of seconds to adjust back into the bout, Ruiz was then checked again by left hook to the chin knocking out his mouthpiece. There were 20 seconds left in round two and the round ended with no mouthpiece.

Torrez showed he was stronger and the more technical fighter and finally ended the bout by KO with a right hook to Ruiz’s body at 1:08 in the third round.

Jose “Tito” Sanchez, a rising featherweight prospect with two knockouts in his first two fights and training under star trainer Joel Diaz, out of Indio, CA, took on veteran Pedro “Pedroito” Melo (17-20-2, 8 KO). Even with his low experience in the professional boxing world, Sanchez showed his maturity in the ring by controlling the fight when following Melo around the ring and landing clean left hooks and powerful body shots. After four rounds Sanchez won by 40-36 on all three cards.

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Is the UFC Purchasing Premier Boxing Champions?

Miguel Iturrate



UFC Purchasing PBC?

Several news outlets are reporting that the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s parent company Endeavor is in talks with Al Haymon to purchase the Premier Boxing Champions. The deal is far from happening and will be complicated if it is completed. Let’s look at some of the details.

Dana White has been the face of the UFC since the brand was purchased by Zuffa in 2001 and over the years he has repeatedly hinted about invading the world of boxing. In his early days as the UFC’s head honcho, White even challenged his biggest star, Tito Ortiz, to a boxing match. The match never happened but to this day White will tell you he would have beaten Ortiz in a fight under Queensberry rules.

In more recent years the UFC co-promoted the Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather Jr match and White, although he would vehemently deny it, also had to have at least tacitly approved of Oscar De LaHoya’s promotion of the third bout between Ortiz and his rival Chuck Liddell. That match-up was likely assessed by White this way: “If Oscar wants to promote MMA let him lose his money,” but he didn’t stand in the way of De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions.

White’s name has also come up in connection with Anthony Joshua. White is said to have had a huge offer ready for the then heavyweight champion, but he backed off when the realization hit that he could not make matches for Joshua in the way he is accustomed because he had no roster of potential opponents. However, White has been insistent that the UFC will “100 percent get into boxing.”

Under new owners Endeavor, White cannot operate like he did under old owners Zuffa, but if the deal goes down it is likely because White crafted some type of long term vision that he sold to Endeavor co-founder and CEO Ari Emanuel (pictured).

When Endeavor purchased the UFC in July of 2016 for a reported $4.05 billion, White agreed to guide the company for at least five more years, of which roughly two are up.

On the flipside, it is difficult to see Al Haymon relinquishing control of PBC. More than likely Haymon would stay in charge of the PBC wing and Endeavor would serve as a cash cow to keep what he has built going.

Haymon must stay aboard for another reason, though few will say it. The reason is ethnicity. If Haymon is left out, that would basically leave Leonard Ellerbe and his boss Floyd Mayweather Jr as the only prominent African-American promoters in boxing and that would not be a healthy situation.

Premier Boxing Champions has a diverse group of fighters among the over 200 pugilists under contract. Some are African-American as are many of Haymon’s key employees and associates. Frankly, at least a portion of those fighters and employees would not feel the same comfort level they have with Haymon if Emanuel, a member of an influential Jewish family (his brother is former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel) and Vegas power broker White were abruptly substituted.

Another effect on the PBC model is on the promotional end. Haymon has cobbled together a group of promoters that operate regionally under his PBC umbrella. The model that Endeavor brings with the UFC will have a more centralized approach to promotion. How will the new owners deal with Lou DiBella in NY, James Leija and Mike Battah in Texas, and Tom Brown in California? Throw in the aforementioned Ellerbe and Mayweather, who operate primarily in Vegas but also in the Washington DC and Baltimore area. How will the promoters who work with the PBC see their relationship change if Haymon left and Dana White was in charge?

Haymon has built the PBC over the years into a big business. He has the PBC on FOX and Showtime whereas the UFC, which previously partnered with FOX, now has a long-term deal with ESPN. This suggests that if a deal is made, PBC and the UFC will have to operate as completely separate entities under the same umbrella, at least for the foreseeable future. And even that might be further away from happening than most people realize.

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