'I’ll win because I’m the hungriest': Regis Prograis interview
Luke G. Williams
Regis Prograis enters the World Boxing Super Series super-lightweight tournament as many people's pick to lift the Muhammad Ali trophy. It's not a notion he disagrees with, as he explains to Boxing Monthly's Luke G. Williams...
With the New Orleans skyline tattooed on his chest, Regis Prograis has made his love for the city of his birth clear.
However, on Saturday night the 29-year-old nicknamed 'The Rougarou' (in honour of a werewolf-style creature which looms large in the folklore of Cajun French Louisiana) will fight in New Orleans as a professional for just the second time.
Although Prograis is a proud product of the 'Big Easy', the majority of his 22-0 (19 KOs) career has seen him fight in Texas, where he relocated with his family after the tragic events of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, during the aftermath of which at one point point the city's population was estimated to have halved.
Although he has not yet won a 'full' world title, the WBC 'interim' super lightweight champion enters the World Boxing Super Series tournament as many people's pick to ultimately lift the Muhammad Ali trophy.
It comes as little surprise that Prograis views the WBSS as a vehicle which offers him the opportunity to stake his claim as the best 140lbs fighter in the world.
"I signed up for the WBSS because I think it’s a good thing for boxing," he told Boxing Monthly. "There's a lot of loopholes in boxing where sometimes the best don’t fight the best. In the WBSS you can’t run or hide behind management and promoters. And on top of everything else in this season there will be two belts and some good money in the tournament. I’m very excited to be showcasing my talents to the world. That’s why I’m in boxing - to be a world champion and perform in front of the world."
Prograis' quarter-final opponent is England's 29-year-old Terry Flanagan, the former WBO lightweight champion who has won seven out of his eight world title fights en route to assembling an impressive career ledger of 33-1 (13 KOs). Some were surprised that Prograis - the number one seed - opted at the WBSS draft to face 'Turbo Terry'
"I picked Terry Flanagan because I felt he had the most experience out of the two choices," is how Prograis explains it. "It was either him or Ryan Martin. I’m in this tournament to prove I’m the best and Terry Flanagan is a former world champion.
"I don’t look too far in the future. Right now my biggest threat is Terry Flanagan. But if you asked who do I see winning the other side [of the draw] it’s either Josh Taylor or Ivan Baranchyk. Me and Ivan went to dinner after the pairings [at the draft] and I’m pretty sure his mind is set on me and him in the final."
Although he is not sure who will emerge from the tournament's other match-ups, Prograis is supremely confident in his own prospects.
"I think I’ll win because I’m the hungriest," he declares matter of factly. "I look at myself as the underdog. I’m still proving myself. It has nothing to do with my skills. For me, it’s all about my will to win.
"It’ll mean everything to win this tournament. All the fighters in this tournament are hungry and are in it to win the whole thing. Whoever wins this tournament will truly have the crown of the best 140lbs [boxer] when it’s over.
"Best believe it will be the Rougarou to take the whole thing."