The fight is only a month away from taking place, so let the build-up begin.
Big-time professional boxing is coming to Lafayette on April 27 with the semifinal round of the World Boxing Super Series.
On Tuesday at the Cajundome, all the fun around promoting a big boxing event started when New Orleans native Regis Prograis entered the news conference on the top of a fire truck.
Previous events were held in such world famous cities as Glasgow, Scotland and Moscow, Russia. So why is the next World Boxing Super Series ev…
“I’m very excited to be here,” said Prograis, who quickly explained the fire truck symbolized that he’ll be giving free tickets to first responders to attend the fight. “It’s like perfect, because it is middle ground between New Orleans and Houston, my two homes. I just can’t wait to get it on.
“Hopefully, we’re going to fill this stadium up and it’s going to be one of the biggest events this city has ever seen. This is not city, state, national … this is a world event. This show will be all over the whole world.”
Prograsis (23-0, 19 KOs) will fight Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs) in the 140-pound super-lightweight semifinal.
“One of great things about the World Boxing Super Series Tournament is it tries to consolidate the divisions,” said Alex Dombroff, who is vice-president of DiBella Entertainment of New York. “It tries to take everyone who claims to be a world champion and get them in the ring together and decide who really is the best in the division. And although Regis' opponent isn’t here, Kiryl Relikh is a world champion.
“So what you have coming to Lafayette is a world champion fighting a world champion and that’s the rarest kind of fight in boxing. It’s the kind of fight that fans crave and the kind of fight that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.”
The World Boxing Super Series semifinal doubleheader featuring New Orleans native Regis Prograis against WBA super lightweight champion Kiryl …
In fact, Dombroff said, the card headed to Cajun Country gets even better than that.
The co-main event on the April 27 card will square off American-Filipino Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) with South Africa’s Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) in the 118-pound bantamweight semifinal.
“What we actually have here is two unification fights,” Dombroff said. “That’s an incredibly rare thing and an incredibly high-level thing, something that doesn’t happen on the biggest of pay-per-view events in boxing, but it’s happening here in Lafayette.”
Kerry Daigle, longtime boxing promoter from Opelousas, began the news conference by giving the audience a history lesson of the three previous biggest pro boxing cards in Louisiana history — all in New Orleans.
In 1893, the longest recorded pro boxing match ever took place in New Orleans — 110 rounds, lasting seven hours and 19 minutes. In 1978, Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks for the WBA heavyweight title. And in 1980, Sugar Ray Leonard beat Roberto Duran in the famous "No Mas" fight for the WBC welterweight crown.
“WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO titles all up for grabs,” Daigle said. “All four sanctioning bodies will be here at this show. This makes this the biggest show ever in Louisiana and I really believe it’ll never be duplicated.”
For the record, the other bantamweight semifinal is between Nayoa Inoue and Emmanuel Rodriguez in Glasgow, Scotland and the other super-lightweight semifinal is between Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk, also in Glasgow.
Local city officials joined in the excitement of the event coming to the Hub City.
“This is what I call a prestige event,” said Ben Berthelot, CEO of Lafayette Travel, the local tourism commission. This is going to put us on the map. There’s going to be viewing from around the world. The more opportunities you have to show you can host this kind of event, then people start paying attention.”
How to See Fights
To see fights in person, tickets for the April 27 boxing card in the Cajundome can be purchased at the Cajundome box office or at TicketMaster. The price ranges are: $400 ringside, $100 floor seats, $60 lower tier, $50 lower tier, $25 upper tier.
The other option is to watch the live streaming service DAZN, a worldwide sports streaming service which can be accessed at dazn.com for $19.99 a month.