Regis Prograis will need a new opponent for his planned homecoming.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that an undisclosed injury has forced Australia’s Liam Paro to withdraw from his planned challenge of Prograis’ WBC junior welterweight title. The bout was due to headline a June 17 DAZN show from Smoothie King Center in Prograis’ childhood hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The show will move forward, as a new opponent is sought for what will also serve as Prograis’ debut under the Matchroom Boxing banner. Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn confirmed to IFL TV—who was first to report Paro’s injury—that unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza (28-0, 10KOs) is the company’s leading choice to replace Paro, although such a fight was not finalized as this goes to publication.
The development left Paro to withdraw from a fight for the second time in 2023. The unbeaten contender from Brisbane suffered a facial fracture during training camp ahead of his canceled March 11 clash with Robbie Davies Jr. in Liverpool. He was also pulled from negotiations with former unified titlist Jose Carlos Ramirez for an ordered WBO title eliminator to instead pursue his first career title versus Prograis.
All told, it leaves Paro on the sidelines since his terrific first-round knockout of countryman Brock Jarvis last October 15 in South Brisbane.
Prograis (28-1, 24KOs) will fight in his childhood home state for the first time since April 2019. That moment came in the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament, where Prograis scored a sixth-round knockout of Kiryl Relikh to win the WBA junior welterweight title.
It was his third straight fight in Louisiana but also his last as unbeaten fighter. Prograis dropped a tightly contested, twelve-round decision to Josh Taylor in their October 2019 WBSS final. He has since won four straight, including an eleventh-round knockout of Jose Zepeda to claim the vacant WBC 140-pound title last November 26 in Carson, California.
The 34-year-old southpaw—who lives and trains in the greater Houston area—signed with Matchroom earlier this month. The union was first reported by Boxing Scene’s Keith Idec and confirmed on May 6, when Prograis was ringside for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s twelve-round, unanimous decision win over John Ryder in Zapopan, Mexico.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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