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. (photos by Mikey Williams).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.