By Keith Idec
As expected, the winner of the upcoming Regis Prograis-Juan Jose Velasco fight will enter the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament.
The World Boxing Super Series confirmed the Prograis-Velasco winner’s participation on social media Tuesday. Prograis is heavily favored to beat Argentina’s Velasco in their July 14 fight at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Prograis’ hometown.
ESPN will televise the scheduled 12-round bout between Prograis (21-0, 18 KO) and Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs) for Prograis’ WBC interim super lightweight title.
“My biggest asset is my hunger to be the best,” Prograis said in a press release issued by the WBSS on Tuesday. “I have a chip on my shoulder and I want to prove to everybody I am the best at 140 pounds.
“I’m definitely excited to enter the tournament. This is great for boxing. The best fighting the best.”
Prograis knocked down former IBF/IBO/WBA champ Julius Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) four times to win by second-round knockout and captured the then-vacant WBC interim 140-pound championship March 9 in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Velasco, 31, will take a big step up in competition when he challenges the 29-year-old Prograis. The unknown underdog is confident, though, that he’ll pull off an upset to earn his spot in the WBSS tournament.
“It’s a great honor and I look forward to competing for the Muhammad Ali trophy and winning the whole thing,” Velasco said. “I think the format is set up well. The best fight the best in the World Boxing Super Series to determine one champ. Great!”
In addition to the Prograis-Velasco winner, Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs), Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs), Scotland’s Josh Taylor (13-0, 11 KOs), Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs) and Sweden’s Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) have been confirmed as participants in the WBSS’ 140-pound tournament.
Relikh will make a mandatory defense of his WBA super lightweight title against Troyanovsky in the first round. Baranchyk and Yigit will fight for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.