Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Championship boxing is back in “The Big Easy” on Saturday at the Lakefront Arena. Native son Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) defends the WBC super lightweight diamond belt against fellow unbeaten Juan Jose Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs), while unbeaten lightweight Teofimo Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs) goes against once-beaten William Silva (25-1, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title.
Fighters from Saturday’s card worked out for the media Wednesday at New Orleans Boxing Club.
Regis Prograis: “I’m not going to say I go in looking for the knockout, but I go in to try and hurt my opponent. Boxing is a brutal sport, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I feel like I’m a killer. Of course, I’m nice. I can smile with ya’ll, but when I get in there, I’m a killer. When I hit somebody and I know they’re hurt, then I know I got them. My whole thing is if I hit them and I see some type of weakness in their body, or I see something going, then I know automatically I got them. It’s over.”
Juan Jose Velasco: “The pressure is not an issue for me. The pressure is on Regis. I’m not expected to do much, which is fine by me. I’ll prove the experts wrong. I feel like everyone is pulling for him, that it’s a gimme fight for Regis. Everyone can talk, but on Saturday, he’ll have to fight.”
Teofimo Lopez: “I’m 20 now. I’ll be a world champion by 21. Then I’m going to clean out the 135-pound division. And yeah, I know Vasiliy Lomachenko is in my way. This is my last fight as a 20-year-old, and I know that I’m going to put on another great show. ‘The Takeover’ is real, ladies and gentlemen. The dude I’m fighting has never been knocked out, but he’s never seen anyone like me. I just can’t wait for Saturday night, and I have a bunch of tricks up my sleeve that nobody has seen.”
William Silva: “I feel great. Teofimo was a great amateur and an Olympian, but this is the pro game. The pros are a different animal. In the ring, there ain’t no underdog. It’s whoever has the will and the skills. When you’re in the ring, you show your skills.”
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Prograis vs. Velasco and Lopez vs. Silva will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7 p.m. ET. The undercard will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 4:30 p.m ET and include several standouts, 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; featherweight prospect Jean Carlos Rivera (13-0, 8 KOs) versus Angel Luna (12-4-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-rounder; and the professional debut of the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Russia, Vladimir Nikitin.