The WBC super lightweight strap belongs to a new champion.
Regis Prograis knocked out Jose Zepeda in the 11th round in their fight for the vacant WBC belt on Saturday night. Prograis claimed the title just months after former undisputed champion Josh Taylor relinquished the title.
“Listen, first off, before I say anything I wanna congratulate Jose Zepeda,” Prograis said.
“That dude is tough, tough, tough. Bro, he came to fight. He probably gave me one of my hardest fights. I’m not even gonna lie. Like, this dude is tough. Bro, you so tough. Bro, I got so much respect for you. And you prepared me to get this belt, and to hold this belt. So, I congratulate you. All the best to you, bro. Don’t stop. I feel like you still gonna be a world champion. You good, bro. You real good. I’m not even gonna lie. You good.”
Zepeda opened up the bout actively.
But in the third round, Prograis began to find his rhythm as he connected with two left hands that pushed Zepeda into the ropes.
In the fourth round, it began to get bloody as Prograis opened a cut above Zepeda’s right eye.
Zepeda and Prograis exchanged hits in the fifth round, which made Zepeda take a step back.
The bout was much of the same heading into the 11th round – Zepeda would find openings, but Prograis was more active and accurate with his punches, forcing Zepeda either into the ropes or to clinch.
In the 11th round, Prograis stunned Zepeda with a left hand, forcing his opponent back onto the ropes. Prograis took advantage and the referee stopped the bout at 50 seconds into the round.
While Prograis is already eyeing his next opponent as he fancies himself to face former IBF/WBA/WBO 135-pound champion, Teofimo Lopez at 140. The New Orleans native believes that Lopez will be attracted to a fight with him if the right money comes his way.
“Everybody has a price, so if the money’s right, I think so,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “But I really think I’ll hurt him. I really think I can hurt him, stop him. Listen, Teofimo, I thought he had the goods at 135.”
Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) made a move to 140 after his shocking split-decision defeat to Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Lopez’s lightweight titles last November 27 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
Lopez made his debut at 140 this summer against Mexico’s Pedro Campa (34-2-1, 23 KOs). The Las Vegas native was back to his usual self as he stopped Campa in the seventh round to kickstart his quest to the top at 140.
But Prograis feels the 25-year-old Lopez will not have an easy ride at the super lightweight as the likes of Taylor, Jose Ramirez and Jack Catterall will make Lopez run for his money.
“Of course, I could be wrong about things, but as far as him fighting big 140-pounders, I don’t know. You know, fighting me or Josh Taylor, even [Jack] Catterall or Jose Ramirez, they got the dude [Subriel] Matias out there – I just can’t see him beating any of the big guys.”