With the WBC’s 140-pound ‘diamond’ champion Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) getting set to take on Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) on April 27th in the WBSS semifinals — with Relikh’s WBA title on the line as well — Prograis takes some time to talk chat about the fighters who’ve influenced his style and lessons that still motivate him to this day.
Prograis on which fighters he’s tried to emulate growing up:
“It’s a bunch. As a southpaw you’ve always gotta watch Pernell Whitaker. Every southpaw should watch Pernell Whitaker. Marvin Hagler, Duran — Tyson was #1. That’s who I actually started boxing to be like, Mike Tyson. Ali, Henry Armstrong, Ray Robinson — it’s just a whole bunch of fighters. I looked at all of ‘em, basically. And so I try to take something from everybody. Whatever works for me, then I’ll do it.”
On his fight against Kiryl Relikh being a match-up between top five rated junior welterweights while the other champions in the weight class, not so much:
“I’m glad you asked that. If you look at people, who they fighting? And that’s why I want to fight in the [WBSS] tournament...because me and Relikh are two top five people...You look at [Maurice] Hooker, who is he fighting? And you look at [Jose] Ramirez, who is he fighting?...For me boxing is the best fighting the best, basically. It’s all about the legacy.
“I feel like some people look at me as the best at 140 because of the competition that I’m fighting. I fought two former world — one of ‘em was a unified world champ, I stopped him in two rounds. Terry Flanagan is a former world champion and I just dominated him. Maurice Hooker, he fought Flanagan and it was a struggle. It was a struggle for him and I completely dominated. So, yeah, my whole thing is like, competition.
“So, one thing: we was in New Orleans for All-Star weekend. I hung with Floyd Mayweather that whole night, and at the time I was 19-0 with 16 knockouts, and I think I was top five in the world or something like that. And you know, one thing that stuck with me, he said ‘who did you beat?’ And at the time, you know, I couldn’t really name who I really beat like that. Of course I beat 19 people and knocked out 16 of them, but big names — who did I beat? It was zero, right, at the time. So that’s what kinda stuck with me, when Floyd said ‘who did you beat?’ and that’s what it’s all about. Who did you beat?
“And that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to be a world champion, in just basically fighting nobodies and stuff like that. Yeah, I want to be a world champ. I want to fight good opponents because my training camp is too hard. Like people don’t understand what I go through in training camps — it’s just like so so hard. Like I train three times a day, and it’s a grueling training camp every time. So I’m not about to do all the shit I’m doing to, you know, fight, basically somebody that’s not that good. I want to fight world champions, former world champions, undefeated fighters. And if you look at my record the last couple of years, that’s all I’ve been fighting.”