Undefeated New Orleans native Regis Prograis wants his next fight to be sooner rather than later, his manager said Thursday.
However against whom, when and where is up in the air.
Prograis’ handlers are in negotiations with World Boxing Super Series officials to resolve Prograis’ status in the WBSS super lightweight semifinals with a solution expected in the next few days.
Prograis is tentatively scheduled to meet WBA champion Kiryl Relikh on May 18 in Glasgow, Scotland in a semifinal doubleheader. But on Thursday, the other half of the bill was put in limbo when IBF champion Ivan Baranchyk’s management said he was pulling out of his bout against Josh Taylor, bringing the threat of legal action from the tournament organizers.
Prograis hasn’t pulled out of the tournament. But clearly there has been frustration over the delays in progressing with the event, especially since the semifinals were tentatively scheduled for February.
Lou DiBella, who is Prograis’ promoter, is also co-promoter of Baranchyk.
“Regis is a fighter,” Sam Katkovski, boxing director of Churchill Management said Thursday. “He just wants to fight — and get paid.”
Prograis’ last fight was a unanimous decision against Terry Flanagan at Lakefront Arena in October in the WBSS quarterfinals, which featured Baranchyk winning his quarterfinal on the same bill.
At the time, Prograis expressed the desire to return to his hometown for the semis as well.
However, poor attendance for the Flanagan fight and promotion problems in Orlando, Florida, and Chicago, the venues for quarterfinal bouts in cruiserweight and bantamweight divisions of the WBSS had prompted Comosa AG, the Swiss-based company which owns the tournament to stage the semifinals as doubleheaders in European or Asian venues.
The WBSS had not officially set any semifinal dates and sites prior to Thursday. But after Baranchyk’s decision was made known through ESPN early in the day, the WBSS announced Baranchyk-Taylor for May 18 in Glasgow.
No announcement was made about Prograis-Relikh, but Leon Margules, who handles American promotions for the WBSS, said that was only because of the ongoing negotiations.
Katkovski said last month that staging Prograis’ semifinal bout in Scotland, Taylor’s native country, was acceptable, but that should Taylor win under no circumstances would Prograis, as the No. 1 seed, agree to return there for the championship.
Now, with Baranchyk’s management citing financial issues and the delay from a planned February semifinal, Prograis’ team doesn’t want to go to Glasgow as well.
Margules said New Orleans has not been ruled out as a venue for a Prograis semifinal should he remain in the tournament, but that other cities both in the U.S. and Europe could be in the picture as well.
“We’re all talking through resolutions,” he said. “We’re trying to decide what we’re going to do to make thing go smoothly.”
Margules added that Baranchyk is risking a $1 million lawsuit by pulling out, suggesting that Prograis would be doing the same thing by withdrawing and that the remainder of the tournament was no in jeopardy of being cancelled.
Should Prograis withdraw, he could be in line for a fight for WBC titleholder Jose Ramirez this spring. Ramirez is defending his title against Jose Zepada on Feb. 10.
Katkovski was non-committal on that end.
“There have been a lot of developments in the last 24 hours,” he said. “We’re hopeful that things work themselves out.
“We are confident Regis is going to fight someone in April or May. But there’s nothing else to really say right now.”