Regis Prograis soaked in the last taste of pre-fight ambiance before he performs on familiar soil.
The two-time and reigning WBC junior welterweight titlist was a lean and ready 139 pounds for his long overdue homecoming appearance. The occasion also marks Prograis’ first defense of his second title reign which comes versus Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrilla, who was also 139 pounds for their scheduled 12-round DAZN main event Saturday from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Zorrilla (17-1, 13KOs) enters first career title fight. The 29-year-old contender from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico accepted the five on roughly five weeks’ notice. Australia’s Liam Paro (23-0, 14KOs) was originally due to face Prograis but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Prograis—born and raised in New Orleans but now based out of the greater Houston area—will attempt the first defense of the WBC 140-pound crown he claimed in an eleventh-round knockout of Jose Zepeda last November 26 in Carson, California. The 34-year-old southpaw last fought at home in October 2018, one fight prior to his WBA junior welterweight title win which took place six months later in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The title reign lasted just six months before Prograis lost the belt to Josh Taylor in the WBSS finale in October 2019, but has since won his last four starts.
Saturday’s title fight is the first in New Orleans featuring a homegrown fighter since April 1964 when Willie Pastrano defended the undisputed light heavyweight championship.
DAZN main undercard, 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. local time
Shakhram Giyasov (13-0, 9KOs), Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 146.1 pounds vs. Harold Calderon (27-0, 18KOs), Miami via Chicago, 146.2 pounds—12 rounds, welterweight
Ramla Ali (8-0, 2KOs), London via Mogadishu, Somalia, 122 pounds vs. Julissa Alejandra Guzman (12-2-2, 6KOs), Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, 121.1 pounds—10 rounds, junior featherweight
Jeremy Hill (18-3, 11KOs), New Orleans, 135.6 pounds vs. Mark Davis (19-1, 5KOs), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 135.6 pounds—10 rounds, lightweight (137-pound contracted limit)
DAZN ‘Before The Bell’ prelims, 6:05 p.m. ET/5:05 p.m. local time
Ginny Fuchs (2-0, 1KO), Houston, Texas, 113.4 pounds vs. Indeya Smith (6-7-2, 1KO), Dallas via New Orleans, 113.2 pounds—8 rounds, flyweight
Aaron Aponte (7-0-1, 2KOs), Hialeah Gardens, Florida, 138 ½ pounds vs. Xavier Madrid (4-2, 2KOs), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 138 ½ pounds—8 rounds, junior welterweight
Criztec Bazaldua (1-0, 0KOs), Los Angeles, 136.4 pounds vs. Elroy Fruto (1-1, 0KOs), Surrey, Canada, 135.6 pounds—4 rounds, lightweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox