Regis Prograis smiled as a reporter read a message Jose Ramirez sent him for the newly crowned WBC super lightweight champion.

Prograis realizes he has something Ramirez wants now and understands that their fight seems inevitable.

According to the WBC’s rules related to fights for vacant championships, Prograis must make two mandatory defenses of his 140-pound crown. Ramirez (27-1, 17 KOs), who owned the WBC championship when Prograis held the WBA super lightweight title, is the WBC’s third-ranked contender in the 140-pound division and its first mandatory challenger.

Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) was ranked second by the WBC when he knocked out number one-rated Jose Zepeda in the 11th round Saturday night to win a title Josh Taylor gave up earlier this year. The 33-year-old Prograis dropped Zepeda (36-3, 28 KOs, 2 NC) with a left hand and stopped him 59 seconds into the 11th round of their 12-round main event at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“Listen, Jose Ramirez been ducking me for five years,” Prograis said during his post-fight press conference. “And now I got this belt, and now he wanna fight me. But listen, that’s cool. We can [fight]. Now, listen, all right, it’s cool. Thank you, Jose Ramirez. We’ll fight.”

The winner of a December 10 bout between fourth-ranked Teofimo Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and fifth-ranked Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) will become the WBC’s second mandatory challenger for Prograis’ title.

Prograis’ preference is a rematch with Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs), but the Scottish southpaw might not remain in the 140-pound division if he successfully defends his WBO junior welterweight title by beating British southpaw Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs) in their 12-round rematch February 4 at OVO Hydro in Glasgow.

The powerful Prograis, a New Orleans native who resides in Katy, Texas, also mentioned Dominican southpaw Alberto Puello as a potential opponent next year. Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) owns the WBA super lightweight title that Prograis lost to Taylor in their championship unification fight three years ago at O2 Arena in London.

“Maybe we’ll do a unification,” Prograis said. “Maybe I’ll fight for the WBA. Maybe I’ll do that. Maybe, um, Jose Ramirez – he’s a mandatory. Everybody know if I had a hit list, Josh Taylor would be first on my hit list. So, I think it’s a lot of big opportunities out there for me. But um, we’ll see. We’ll see what they say.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.