The World Boxing Super Series had to endure a period of strife a few months ago that left people, including the participants themselves, wondering if the tournament will be canceled prematurely.
Regis Prograis, the junior welterweight tournament's top-seeded boxer, was one of those participants who was left in the dark for months on what the future of the tournament would be. Detailing those feelings to Fightful, Prograis said he was frustrated and contacting his manager Sam Katkovski on a regular basis on when he would fight WBA champion Kiryl Relikh in the semifinals.
“At first, it was kind of frustrating. At first, it was just one thing where it was a quick turnaround for the tournament. It just wasn’t happening so I kept bugging my manager asking, ‘What’s going on? What’s going to happen with the fight? I’m ready to start training camp.’ I just had a whole lot of stuff planned out and I just wanted to start my training camp. It was frustrating at first, but I’ve kept busy. I stayed in the gym and I’m glad of the way it turned out. But yeah, it was kind of frustrating at first just because we didn’t know what was going on. A lot of people even doubted that [the tournament] was even going to happen. For me, I just stayed silent on what I wanted to do," Prograis said.
Although Prograis may not have been able to leave the tournament, as evidenced by IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk's unsuccessful attempt in doing so, his first option was to stay in the tournament.
"I really wanted to stay in the tournament. I told Sam, ‘Look, my first choice is to stay in the tournament no matter what.’ We were looking up dates and the dates lined up and I got to stay in the tournament and I’m glad that it happened,” Prograis said.
So why did Prograis want to remain in the tournament? Well, even though he is the No. 1 seed in the 140-pound tournament, he doesn't possess an actual world title. Having only won the WBC's interim and Diamond belts, Prograis knew that the tournament was his guaranteed shot at fighting, and winning a world title bout. WBC champion Jose Ramirez and WBO champion Maurice Hooker aren't participating in the tournament, but Prograis believes those two wouldn't be up for a fight against him.
Moving on to his tournament bout against Relikh, Prograis is excited to be fighting in his first true world title fight. The New Orleans native calls the fight against Relikh the biggest of his pro career.
“Yes, definitely, I think so. As far as him being the best fighter, I don’t know. I wouldn’t know until I get into the ring with him. I think it is the biggest because it’s my first chance at a world title. This is the biggest fight of my career,” Prograis said.
Prograis vs. Relikh will headline the World Boxing Super Series card from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 27 and will be streamed on DAZN. Also on that card is a WBSS bantamweight tournament semifinal bout between WBA "Super" champion Nonito Donaire and Stephon Young. You can listen to Prograis talking to Fightful in the video at the top of the page.