Prograis-Velasco Final Press Conference

Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

WBC interim super lightweight champion Regis “Rougarou” Prograis asked to fight in his hometown of New Orleans for a long time. After 21 bouts and more than six years as a pro, his wish is finally coming true. The Prograis homecoming will occur Saturday evening at the Lakefront Arena, where he will defend against fellow unbeaten Juan Jose Velasco live on ESPN. At Neyow’s Palace, located only a couple miles from the French Quarter, the fighters gathered for the final press conference.

Regis Prograis: “It’s a dream to come here. The Lakefront Arena, I grew up right around the corner from there. Like, in the car, you’d get there literally in two minutes. Just to be headlining there, that’s super important to me. I’m honored for it. I have to hide my excitement because I still have to fight. {Velasco} is going to try and knock me out, you know what I mean? So I gotta go out there and do my thing. I’m super excited. I might not show it, but I’m really excited to be fighting in my hometown, and not only that, my whole goal is to bring big-time boxing back to New Orleans. Not only a Regis Prograis fight, but one day we may get {Terence Crawford, who was seated in the audience} up here to fight. You know, one day, maybe me and {Crawford} might fight here at ’47. I’m focused. There are no distractions for me. This is normal. This is a part of the game.”

Juan Jose Velasco: “I’ve had a tremendous training camp, and I am thankful for this opportunity. I am going to take advantage of it. Regis is a great fighter. To be a great champion, you need to fight the best fighters. And I want to prove on Saturday night that I’m elite like him.”

In the co-feature, Brooklyn-bred Teofimo Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs) will take on William Silva (25-1, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title.

Teofimo Lopez: “It’s about time {I stepped up the competition}. It’s about time. I definitely want to showcase more of what I’m capable of doing. People have yet to see everything of me. Top Rank’s matchmakers – Brad Goodman and Bruce Trampler – they’re doing a hell of a job with me. This is a good step up. Definitely. Fighting a guy whose only defeat was with Felix Verdejo {in 2016}, and he went the distance with him. At the end of the day, I’m no Felix Verdejo.”

William Silva: “I’m ready for the fight. It’s a real important fight. I had a real good training camp, and I’m ready to go.”

The undercard will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. Several young standouts will see action, including 2016 U.S. Olympian Charles Conwell (7-0, 5 KOs) in a six-round middleweight bout against Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native Travis Scott (19-3, 5 KOs), 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2 KOs) versus fellow unbeaten Kevin Johnson (5-0, 4 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout; unbeaten 130-pound contender Erick De Leon (17-0-1, 10 KOs) against Adrian Young (25-4-2, 19 KOs) in a 10-rounder; and featherweight prospect Jean Carlos Rivera (13-0, 8 KOs) versus Angel Luna (12-4-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-round contest.

Erick De Leon: “I can’t wait to see all my fans. You guys are in for a really special treat. I can’t wait to display my talent and everything I got, everything I worked for in camp. It’s going to show Saturday, so make sure you’re there early…I make adjustments. I can do it all in the ring. I’m available to capitalize and make adjustments, and that’s what it’s all about. Saturday, you are going to see a more complete fighter. You’re going to see a more exciting fighter.”

Jean Carlos Rivera: “I’m ready for the 10 rounds. We were supposed to fight Jose Haro for the USBA title and unfortunately he pulled out. Then, we were supposed to fight Viorel Simion, who has fought Scott Quigg and Lee Selby, in a 12-rounder, and unfortunately, he also pulled out. Now I’m fighting Angel Luna, and we’re ready for whatever he brings.”

Charles Conwell: “I feel as if my pro career is going real well. I’ve been active. I’ve been up against good, tough opponents, and I’m just growing and getting better as each fight goes on.”

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