“The people I am fighting in the tournament are just better than some of the opponents the champions outside of the tournament are fighting. It’s history being made...t’s all about what I want to do when I step in the ring on Saturday night. If I want to box, I’ll do that and if I want to go and make it a real bloody fight, then I might do that,” stated top jr. welterweight Regis Prograis, who talked about his upcoming showdown with world champion Kiryl Relikh. You don't want to miss what else he had to say. Check it out!
PC: This has been somewhat of an extensive layoff for you, but you get back in there on Saturday night on DAZN against Kiryl Relikh. Was this process a little bit disappointing or discouraging?
RP: I roll with the punches, dawg, to be honest. Things were out of my control, so I just rolled with the punches. For the people that don’t know or do know, I’m always in the gym. I’m always training and I kept busy. No matter what, I’m keeping busy. I’m either traveling with my family or do other media stuff. So for me, it’s been a minute, but at the same time, I’ve stayed busy. I know how to use my time wisely and do what I need to do.
PC: I think one positive that you could definitely take away is that the opponent didn’t change. From the interview we did here in Slidell after the Flanagan fight, it’s always been Relikh, so I’m sure you have seen plenty of him.
RP: Yeah, of course. As far as me watching film, I don’t do that. I let Bobby, my trainer, do it. He tells me what to watch out for and stuff like that. But yeah, it’s been him the whole time. That’s why I wanted to stay in the World Boxing Super Series. I was real adamant about staying in it because that was my next fight. This fight is for the belt. I know if I wouldn’t have been in the World Boxing Super Series, I probably would have never got a shot at the belt so soon. They would have probably made me wait. I think they would have given me the run-around. That’s why I wanted to stay in this tournament so I could fight Relikh and fight for the belt.
PC: You also expressed to me before the importance of that Muhammad Ali trophy. It was good to see you stay on course towards that as well. How important was it for you to complete this journey?
RP: It’s very important simply because it’s history. This is history being made. I won’t just be a world champion; I will have that Muhammad Ali Trophy at the same time and it’s only a few people in the world that have that. It’s definitely a big risk, but it’s a big reward at the end of the tunnel. Most likely, I feel like after this tournament, I won’t only be considered one of the best 140-pounders in the world, I will be considered pound for pound after this tournament, which is another reason I wanted to stay in this tournament. I want that trophy and I’m a competitor. I want to compete with the best. I’m not fighting no dead opponents. Let me rephrase that because I don’t think no opponent is dead in boxing, but of course you have fighters that are just better. I just feel like the people I am fighting in the tournament are just better than some of the opponents the champions outside of the tournament are fighting. It’s history being made.
PC: I know where the journey began and it was definitely humble beginnings for you. To see guys like Timothy Bradley and some upper echelon guys say you are the one to be avoided and you are the best or most slept on fighter in boxing, that has to be a major confidence booster for you.
RP: Yeah, definitely! When I was with J, when J was managing me, he used to always say the cream is going to rise to the top and that’s exactly what happened. When I first started, I didn’t have a big financial backing behind me. A lot of people didn’t know me, so I had to come up the hard way. Now I’m here and I appreciate it. Now looking at the past, I appreciate that I went that way; that I had to come up the hard way because I appreciate everything way more and I’m way hungrier. I feel like right now, I am probably the most popular 140-pounder fighting right now. It’s because I came from the ashes. I came from nothing and I made something from it. I’m just glad people are starting to recognize now. It’s definitely a good feeling, but I got a whole bunch more to prove and I can’t wait to start with it on Saturday night.
PC: Throughout this tournament, you have wanted to show different styles and different sides to your game. Can we expect the Rougarou, who I feel is more of a guy looking for knockouts and imposing physical damage, or Regis Prograis, who is more calculated, focused on defense, and using his jab? And this is your third home fight in a row, so is there any pressure to show the Rougarou side?
RP: It’s crazy...it just shows that I am popular here in Louisiana. As far as what I’m going to show, I don’t know until I get in the ring. I always go off of the first round and see what I see and how he is reacting to things and that’s how I usually go. Like you said, the old Rougarou, I used to just go in there and knock people out and get them out of there. I know I hit hard. I feel like I will have the power, speed, and athletic advantage over him. But for me, it all depends on what I see and what I want to do. But I know I could go out there and don’t even get touched. I could be a beautiful boxer if I want to be. And that would be for my longevity. But at the same time, people like me because I do knock people out. So for me, it all depends. I might mix it up. I might mix in some speed, some power, and athleticism. It depends. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I want to go out and show yet. It all depends on the first round and how I feel. Sometimes I feel different. My last fight against Flanagan, when I was in training camp, the whole time I was focused on knocking him out. I went in there and when I got to the ring, I just felt good about boxing. I just felt like, “I want to box tonight.” That’s just what I felt like doing. Literally when I stepped in the ring, I thought that. So for me, it’s all about what I want to do when I step in the ring on Saturday night. If I want to box, I’ll do that and if I want to go and make it a real bloody fight, then I might do that. It depends on what he got too. We gonna see.
PC: You are a promoters dream inside of the ring. You don’t turn down fights, you enter tough tournaments, and you come to fight every single time. Outside of the ring, you do some wild shit. Any of your handlers asked you to scale it back a little bit?
RP: I do everything. I mean, nah, they kind of laugh at it and tell me to chill out and stuff sometimes, but I do whatever I want, bruh. That’s just how I am. If I wasn’t a boxer, I would still be doing the same thing. Behind my house, I got like a big ol' reservoir with all kinds of deer back there. I go back there on my dirt bike and they got snakes, deer, alligators, hogs, and all kinds of stuff back there. I’m just an outdoor type of person. I go to Brazil and swim in oceans, jump off mountains, and we go sky diving. I just like to do all that type of stuff. It just works for me. I can’t sit still. One of my trainers said, “Bro, sit still. When you’re in training camp, sit yo ass down. Just chill.” For me, I like to do what I like to do. I have been like that since I was young. I’m real persistent with it. I like to just do me. I like to do what I feel like doing. I always say that. Whatever I feel like doing in the world, I’m going to do it. I don’t care what people say about it, I’m going to do it. That’s just how I am.
PC: You train hard and you do a lot of old school training, using tires as a heavy bag and things like that. That being said, you have implemented a few different methods of recovery, a lot of ice baths, and you were doing some sort of shock treatment the other day. How has that helped with the recovery process?
RP: That’s the thing, my training camps be so hard, dawg. I always go so hard and sometimes I just be dead. I feel like I can’t continue no more. How my days usually go is I go to the boxing gym and then after that, I go and do strength and conditioning work. My strength and conditioning coach don’t let up on me no matter what. I can do 1 to 12 rounds in the gym and be dead and still, he kill me some more. I’m one of his first fighters he’s working with, so he's still learning. I have to tell him sometimes like, “You gotta chill out, bro. I’m dead already.” He always just preach to me about recovery and stuff like that. A lot of times, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t even listen. I don’t sleep as much as he tells me to. I used to just do ice baths and get massages. But this time, I did everything. I did all that stuff right. I drink all of the water he said, I was taking my electrolytes like he said to do, and I was doing ice baths like 3 times a week. And most importantly, I was sleeping way more. This time, after I left the gym, I took a nap. Every single time after I left the gym, I took a nap. And I still went to sleep on time at night. This camp, I slept way more and recovered way better. The ice baths and stuff, I got an ice bathtub at home now, so I just go in there and this time, I did about 80, 90, to 100 pounds of ice. I just got it in like that. I feel like it did help me in camp this time. I feel way better.
PC: Good luck on Saturday night and continue making the city and the state of Louisiana proud. We will catch up after the fight. Is there anything else you want to add?
RP: Tell everybody to come out. In Lafayette, this is a historical fight. There has never been a fight in Lafayette of this magnitude ever in that city. They never had a fight this big before. I hope everyone understands the significance and they come out and come see. Come out and support and come see.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]