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The Rise of Regis Prograis
By Vikram Birring, Dog House Boxing (Oct 8, 2015)

Regis Prograis
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A few years ago, Regis Prograis was just another Hurricane Katrina evacuee. Forced into Houston by the ferocious hurricane, he was now in Houston, a totally foreign city to him. New place, new people, new school, no friends. He was in the same scenario as tens of thousands of others that were forced from their homes overnight.

One thing made him different from the rest, he had a talent, he was a powerful if unrefined boxer, but he had relentless dedication and the only thing on his mind was the pursuit to be the best boxer on the planet, as unrealistic and unimportant as it seemed at the time.

Enter the Savannah Boxing Club, a local institution that bred many of the best local boxers of a generation: Juan Diaz, the Charlo twins, Omar Henry, Hylon Williams Jr., Jesus Mendez, and others. This was the refuge Prograis needed to take his mind off the unshakeable reality of his current situation, but allow him to focus on his passion.

In short time, Prograis met Jay Johns, a trainer at the gym and an aspiring manager who also moved hails from New Orleans, though he moved years earlier. The two hit it off instantly, and Johns, along with another well-regarded trainer, Hylon Williams Sr., began to polish the rough edges off Prograis and immediately entered him into local amateur tournaments.

Prograis’s rise was astronomical. He won the national PAL tournament and won the regional Golden Gloves and US Championship qualifying tournaments over and over. If not for an extraordinary boxer named Errol Spence, Prograis would have made it to National Golden Gloves and the US Championships multiple times. Based on the trajectory of Spence’s career, there is no shame in losing to him in highly spirited, closely contested bouts.

When he realized he could not make the 2016 Olympic team, Prograis turned pro in 2012 and proceeded to pummel nine overmatched opponents.

Then he met Marteze Logan, who has the record of a journeyman, but is far more skilled that the record indicates, and has been in with a whose who of boxing, and usually gone the distance. He had the reputation of being a spoiler who claimed the occasional shocking upset.

Prograis stopped him in two rounds. The prospect was for real.

Three fights later, he faced an even better journeyman, Hector Velasquez, a Mexican with a chin of granite who even gave Manny Pacquiao problems.

Prograis knocked him out in the fifth round.

By this point, Prograis had the caught the attention of Lou DiBella, who signed him into his stable. Two fights later, on August 7 of this year, Prograis was featured on Showtime in a bout against another undefeated prospect, Amos Cowart of Florida.

Prograis pummeled him around the ring, but it was a good lesson for him, as it was the first time he faced someone who could take his power and would not go down. Also, he showed that the bright lights of national television would not affect his performance, if anything it only made him more focused on dominating the fight instead of loading up on power punches.

Three and one-half years in, Prograis has a perfect 15-0 record, and is in his physical prime at twenty-six years of age. The sky is the limit, and the eyes of the boxing world and his old neighborhood of New Orleans will be watching curiously as the man they call Rougarou continues his ascension up the boxing ladder.

Questions or comments, e-mail Vikram at:

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