*NEW ORLEANS (July 14, 2018) — *Consider the homecoming a success. Regis
“Rougarou” Prograis put on a show for his hometown New Orleans fans,
defending the WBC super lightweight diamond belt with an eighth-round TKO
over Juan Jose Velasco in front of 3,615 fans at the UNO Lakefront Arena.
Prograis, who was born and raised in New Orleans and moved following
Hurricane Katrina, knocked Velasco down with a body shot in the fifth round
and kept applying the pressure. It was all over in the eighth round when
Velasco’s corner threw in the towel. The homecoming was complete, and it
was a success.
“I couldn’t lose here in New Orleans,” Prograis said. “I told my father, if
I lost, I couldn’t come back. I had to go out there and fight. I knew I had
a hard fight. There was a lot of excitement, but I had to hide that
excitement. I had a job to do.”
In the co-main event, Teofimo Lopez promised that it was time for “The
Takeover.” And he delivered. Lopez knocked out William Silva in the sixth
round to win the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title,
punctuating the victory with a home run trot and a backflip. Lopez (10-0, 8
KOs) dropped Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) three times, a veteran who had never been
knocked out. Following the third knockdown, punctuated by a furious
barrage, referee Bruce McDaniel immediately stopped the bout.
“My statement was I am not here to play games. Everything I say, I do. I
talk the talk and I walk the walk,” said Lopez. “The ring celebration, I
was talking to my father, and we said, ‘Let’s do celebrations like in
football. Terrell Owens, he did the popcorn and things like that. Those are
the things I want to bring to the boxing world, but I can’t bring popcorn
out of the stands. It was a home run. Now it’s time to collect. It’s the
beginning of ‘The Takeover.'”
Super featherweight contender Erick De Leon survived a first-round
knockdown and dominated the rest of the way, toppling Adrian Young via
unanimous decision by scores of 97-92, 97-92, and 98-91. It was a
bounce-back performance for De Leon (18-0-1, 10 KOs), who was held to a
draw against Andy Vences in his previous bout back on March 10.
“I felt great during the fight. He caught me a little bit cold with a good
shot in the first round. He came to fight. I basically fought the whole
fight with one arm. I dislocated my right shoulder in the first round, but
we made it work and got a good win against a tough opponent,” said De Leon.
Jean Carlos “Chapito” Rivera (14-0, 9 KOs) wasted little time in knocking
out late replacement Angel Luna (12-5-1, 7 KOs), dropping the
Dominican-born fighter with a right-left combination that forced the
referee to stop the bout at 1:22 of the first round. Rivera, a Puerto Rican
based out of Orlando, Florida, extended his knockout streak to three.
“The fight went way easier than I expected. I was prepared to fight 10 hard
rounds, if necessary. I’ve been training very hard and now I want to take
on bigger challenges. I want to face world-ranked fighters. I’m ready to
step up my competition,” said Rivera.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist from Uzbekistan,
survived the toughest test of his pro career, scoring an eight-round
unanimous decision over fellow unbeaten Kevin Johnson (78-74 3X).
Gaibnazarov (5-0, 2 KOs) used his southpaw stance to keep Johnson (5-1, 4
KOs) at bay, but Johnson found a home for his straight right hands
throughout the fight.
“He was a very tough, young fighter. He saw very good what I was trying to
do. I hit him very hard in the liver and to the head, but he took all of my
punches very well,” said Gaibnazarov.