Regis Prograis has run the gamut of boxing shows and venues, from small club shows early in his career to pay-per-view cards and everything in between. On Saturday, April 17, he will be showcased on an unfamiliar platform that is brand new to the sport. In a battle of southpaws, Prograis (25-1. 21 KOs) takes on Ivan Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs) in the chief supporting bout for the fight between internet celebrity Jake Paul (2-0, 2 KOs) and MMA fighter Ben Askren (debut) at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The event is as much entertainment as it is boxing, featuring a musical lineup including Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer and Mt. Westmore. Stagged by Triller Fite Club, the extravaganza will be streamed on Fite and InDemand Pay-Per-View.
Prograis, 32, does not consider it a step down to be fighting underneath an eight-round bout between two guys with a combined record of 2-0 since it will cast him (and the sweet science) in front of millions of new eyes that might never have witnessed a boxing match before.
"I'm excited about it," Prograis said. "They're super famous and famous in a different way so it doesn't bother me at all. I'm just going to go out there, have a great performance and win over the fans."
Prograis' trainer Bobby Benton concurs.
"Some people are complaining about these YouTube guys but I'm actually excited about it," Benton said. "They're bringing new viewers to boxing. They're bringing the young crowd which is what boxing needs."
As for Redkach, Prograis considers him a dangerous and experienced yet flawed opponent.
"He's a crafty veteran, he has sneaky power, a good uppercut but at the same time he can get hit and get hit a lot," Prograis said. "I'm not taking him lightly at all. I've been training my ass off and doing everything I've got to do. I've got the better IQ to beat him."
The 35-year-old Ukrainian has proven to be an enduring gatekeeper in the 140- and 147-pound divisions for much of his 12-year career. His most notable victory was a sixth-round knockout over former world titleholder Devon Alexander in 2019.
"He's a real guy who can punch and is still dangerous," Benton said of Redkach. "He's got good ring IQ."
The new entertainment-heavy format inevitably brings added pressure to not just win the fight but please the crowd, but it will not distract Prograis from his game plan, he said.
Given his boxer-brawler style, his fights are naturally exhilarating anyway, he added.
"I know what I am, I do what I do, so there's no pressure there," Prograis said. "I'm not an internet star, I'm not a YouTuber so I'm going to go out there and do my boxing thing. I want to show them the raw me. Every time you see me fight, you're going to enjoy yourself. I'm going to be exciting, I'm going to show skill, I'm going to show everything.
"I'm going to be disciplined. I'm going to go out there and box. Of course, if I catch him with a good shot early I'm going to jump on him but I'm going to be disciplined."
The new glitter-and-glamor platform did not alter Prograis' training camp at all, Benton said.
"Nothing's really changed," Benton said. "He still trains like a maniac."
In preparation for Redkach, Benton enlisted sparring partners ranging from 130-154 pounds including former world titleholder Austin Trout (33-5-1, 18 KOs), O'Shaquie Foster (18-2, 11 KOs), Eridson Garcia (11-0, 7 KOs) and Ray Talib (3-0, 1 KO).
"I've got a gym full of southpaws so it was easy," Bento said. "Sparring is never a problem."
Prograis' only defeat was via majority decision to Josh Taylor in a 2019 title unification bout. Taylor will face Jose Ramirez next month to consolidate all four belts for the unified and undisputed junior welterweight championship.
"I want to fight the winner and I'll call out the winner but they're with Top Rank so maybe they'll let me in the door, maybe they won't. We'll see." Prograis said. "I know the fans want to see me and Josh Taylor fight again and I think me and Josh Taylor will probably fight again but it'll be at 147."
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