Undefeated 140-pound contender Regis Prograis and former unified world champion Julius Indongo made weight on Thursday ahead of their 12-round main event of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION for the vacant Interim WBC Super Lightweight World Championship on Friday on SHOWTIME at 8 p.m. from Deadwood Mountain Grand in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs), of Houston by way of New Orleans, has scored knockouts in 13 of his last 14 fights and is a rising star in the wide-open 140-pound division. Indongo represents the toughest challenge of Prograis’ career with his lone loss coming to one of the top fighters in boxing, Terence Crawford.
In the co-feature of the tripleheader, fellow undefeated 140-pound contender Ivan Baranchyk (16-0, 10 KOs) will meet former world title challenger Petr Petrov (38-5-2, 18 KOs) of Ryazan, Russia in an eliminator for the IBF’s No. 2 position at 140 pounds. The 25-year-old Baranchyk is currently ranked No. 4 in the IBF at 140 pounds and owns seven wins over previously undefeated fighters.
Opening the telecast, undefeated heavyweight Junior Fa (13-0, 8 KOs), of Papakura, New Zealand, squares off against Craig Lewis, (14-1-1, 8 KOs), of Detroit, Mich., in an eight-round bout. The 28-year-old Fa made an astounding statement in his US network debut, stopping Fred Latham in the first round in Cleveland on ShoBox: The New Generation.
The event is presented by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Fight Promotions Inc., Holden Productions and Banner Promotions. Tickets, priced at $200, $80 and $60, are on sale now and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com or by calling (877) 907-4726.
In a non-televised undercard bout, undefeated heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe Morrison will face Oswaldo Ortega in his first fight in 15 months after suffering a hand injury. Lippe Morrison is the son of former heavyweight world champion Tommy Morrison.
The doors open and first bout begins at 5:30 p.m.
Final quotes from the boxers on Thursday's weigh-in:
Prograis: “Indongo’s style is not basic at all but I’m easy and I’ve been able to make the adjustments I’ve needed once they named the new opponent.
“He’ll probably try and stay on the outside, and as soon as I hit him he’ll try and box me. It depends on what I want to do. I might want to box him on the outside, or I might want to get on the inside and brawl with him. It depends on how I feel.
“The next five weeks are going to be amazing for the 140-pound division. It’s wide open and anything can happen. There are a lot of paydays out there.
“Both of the guys that I’ve been sparring with are bigger than me. They're real big, probably 20, 30 pounds bigger than me, and they're left-handed and they have a lot of power. That's what I'm getting ready for. Julius Indongo is going to look little compared to them.
"Indongo is a two-time world champion, so I don’t have any complaints about facing him. When they told me about the switch, I was actually happy. They asked me who I wanted to fight and I said, 'Give me somebody good.' When they brought up his name, I said 'yes.' I knew he would eventually be a future opponent for me.
"I think he's good. He has deceptive power. He only lost one fight, to Crawford, and he definitely can't be ashamed of that – Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters right now. Indongo is good, but at the same time, I think this is a real good opportunity for me.
"I just think this is going to be a great fight. You've got me – I'm up-and-coming, I'm 20-0 with 17 knockouts, I'm going after the belt and to be the best at 140 pounds. Julius Indongo is a two-time world champion, and he wants to prove that he's still on top, also.
“I’ve been working mostly on my jab for this fight. I know the SHOWITME fans know all about my jab, but it’s going to be more powerful.
“I lost to Errol Spence in the finals of the Texas State Golden Gloves and I think I can go to 147. I was in Florida and was standing next to Keith Thurman and I was bigger than him. So eventually I will go up.”
Indongo: “I know that Regis is a very strong fighter, but my team and I have a game plan that I am confident in and I think that we will get the win.
“I have had plenty of time to prepare for this fight with Regis. I was already training because I knew I had a fight in March. The late notice will not be a problem for me. I am ready to go.
“The loss to Crawford did not affect me. Losing is a part of boxing. I took my loss like a pro and I am emotionally past it. Tomorrow night I will have a fresh start and will show that I am a better fighter because of it.
“I’m not going to change too much from my last fight just because I lost. I am going to keep my own style and just fine-tune a few details that I have to work on in order to win the fight.
“I definitely want to give credit to Mark Breland and Deontay Wilder’s trainer, Jay Deas. We trained with them for two and a half weeks. We went to Tuscaloosa and they really helped us out and I think I really improved because of it. They were extremely welcoming and we will definitely be returning to train with Wilder’s team again.
“Regis is a tough fighter. The credit he has gotten, he deserves. He is tough, resilient and gritty and we expect all of those things tomorrow night. We expect a very tough, competitive fight, but I am very confident in my own abilities.”
Baranchyk: “I like my new trainer (Pedro Diaz) a lot. It’s a completely different style and level of work that I’ve never tried before. I watched a lot of video of him and I really liked the work that I saw he did with Miguel Cotto.
“I feel as ready as I’ve ever felt. I feel good. The training has been more focused on my technique. I feel like I’m coming into this fight in great shape. I’ve tried to stay disciplined in training. My trainer always says you win the fight in the gym.
“I think that I’m a strong fighter, but in boxing you have to be smart too. I have been working on my intelligence in the ring and how to manage my energy. In the past, I have wasted more energy than I’ve needed to.
“My opponent doesn’t matter, the late change won’t affect me. I am ready to fight whoever they put in front of me. My game plan is the same, I am going to come out strong, aggressive, intelligent and win the fight. Petrov is a good fighter but this is a good matchup for me.
“I think it’s going to be a tough fight. Petrov is a good fighter with a lot of experience who has had a good career. But I have a long future ahead of me, too.
“Tomorrow night I’m going to show a lot of improvement in the technical aspect of my fighting. I feel that I have a very strong future in this sport and I want to be a world champion one day. Petrov is just another step for me.”
Petrov: “My training has been good. The late notice should not affect me, I am always in the gym and always in good shape. I trained in Spain for six weeks before coming here, so I am 100% ready for this fight. It was an easy decision to take this fight.
“I am always staying in the gym and always ready for a fight. The 11 month layoff was not by design, I was always preparing for a fight that fell through for one reason or another
“I was not familiar with Baranchyk, but I have learned that he is an aggressive fighter that will come forward. My counter-punching and my angles will be very important in this fight. I am going to stand toe-to-toe with him.
“I know that he is the younger, bigger fighter and I am taking this fight on short notice, but none of that matters. The only thing that matters is what happens in the ring tomorrow night, and I am confident that I will win.”
Fa: “I was really happy with my last fight against Latham. It was a real confidence booster for me. That fight was really important for me to get some exposure in the U.S. and start to build a fan base over here.
“I like fighting taller opponents, because in the long run it’s really good experience for me. If I am going to compete for world titles, I need to be able to fight opponents that have the same size as me.
““I’m a lot more confident now than I was in my previous couple fights. A lot of that confidence comes from the really difficult training camp that I’ve had. There’s a real boost in my fitness and in my overall sharpness. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my career, both physically and mentally.”
Lewis: “I’m an original Kronk Gym boxer, but now I train at Hand’s On Boxing Gym in Detroit.
“I was a former college basketball player. I went to Macomb Community College and Wayne State University. I was all about defense. I would knock guys down all the time. I’d knock down guys who were 7-feet, 300 pounds. I figured if they couldn’t get the ball, they couldn’t score. I did the dirty work. I figured I might as well get paid for it, so I turned to boxing.
“Junior Fa’s alright. I’ve got to work the jab, and I’ll make adjustments once I’m in there. I switch up and fight southpaw. I don’t have a time when I do it. When it comes, it just comes.
“I think come Saturday morning the SHOWTIME boxing fans will say, ‘wow, that’s the new up and coming heavyweight.’ I’m definitely a prospect and have skills. I have good hand-eye coordination. It’s not just about power with me. I have real skills, and playing basketball helped me with that.”
Morrison: “I’ve been training the whole time, every day. I’m super excited, it’s been too long. The reason I’ve been off so long is because of my hand, but it’s healed up now. This will be a big test to see how my hand feels.
“I’m always nervous to get into the ring. But I’m very excited because I feel like I’ve been learning a lot the past year, so I’m excited to put that to use. I feel like I have the tools and I know exactly what I need to do. I’m so excited to show off what I’ve learned and I’m ready to experience it myself. I know I’m still lacking certain skills and there’s things I need to get better at, but I feel myself getting better.”