Eddie Hearn knew he needed to shore up his long moribund standing in the hot 140-pound division.

With the announcement this past weekend that his company, Matchroom, signed Regis Prograis, the WBC champion, to a multi-fight promotional deal, Hearn has seemingly taken a significant step in trying to compete in one of boxing's more alluring weight classes.

Indeed, in a recent interview, Hearn made it clear he feels the signing of Prograis will be important to his business down the line. In addition to the talent that exists in the division, such as WBO titlist Josh Taylor and contenders like Teofimo Lopez, the 140-pound class will likely become the home of some of the major names at lightweight sooner than later, including Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney, and Ryan Garcia. Having a formidable champion in the division means Hearn will not necessarily be on the outside looking in when the big fights come knocking.

“It’s really important to get our foot in divisions that are the glamor divisions in boxing,” Hearn told Boxing News. “We kind of missed the boat in welterweight. It’s not the glamor division it was but four, five, six years ago we had Kell Brook. Unfortunately, he didn’t capitalize on his win over Shawn Porter, but now at 135 and 140, it’s really important for us to get in there with guys that can mix it up with the elite. And with Regis I honestly believe—and I saw Josh Taylor replied to my message because I said [Regis] is number one—I really rate Josh Taylor but I think right now with the momentum I believe Regis Prograis would beat Josh Taylor. I promoted their first fight. It was brilliant and they’re both brilliant fighters, but I believe that we have the best 140-pounder in the world.”

Prograis will make his Matchroom debut against Liam Paro in his hometown of New Orleans on June 17 at Smoothie King Center.  

“When you look at the fighters coming up, Ryan Garcia, Shakur, Tank, Devin Haney, all these guys, Teofimo, Josh Taylor, it’s a massive division and Regis is ready for all those guys,” Hearn continued. “He had other offers, he had bigger offers, and that’s one of the most pleasing things to me is he likes us, he likes what we do. He wanted to be part of that and he wanted momentum, he wanted activity. And when we signed him, we said, ‘bang, seven weeks’ time’: June 17th, Liam Paro, first defense, and not just that at home, in New Orleans. I think the kid’s a star.”

Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing