Former WBA light welterweight champion Regis Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) completely dominated the #1 ranked WBC contender Jose Zepeda (35-3, 27 KOs) to stop him in the 11th round to capture the vacant WBC 140-lb title on Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Prograis, 33, took it easy on Zepeda through the first nine rounds, hitting him with jabs and controlling him with big shots that made the California native defensive.
Zepeda showed little ambition to attempt to win the fight until the tenth round when he suddenly opened up with some big shots on Prograis that angered him. In retaliation, Prograis attacked Zepeda with hard shots that had him looking hurt as the round ended.
In the 11th, Prograis, still angry from the previous round, continued to pour it on, hitting Zepeda at will with shots until sending him to the deck to get the stoppage. The referee Ray Corona officially halted the contest at 0:59 of the eleventh.
Prograis would have likely stopped Zepeda much earlier in the contest if Jose wasn’t playing it safe looking to survive.
For a fight that was supposed to have a lot of fireworks, there was precious little back & fourth action until the tenth, and that was because Zepeda was playing it safe, just looking to survive instead of trying to win.
With the win, Prograis became a world champion for the second time in his career. Now that Prograis has the WBC belt, it’ll be interesting to see if he can get a rematch with WBO champion Josh Taylor or lure Teofimo Lopez or Ryan Garcia into fighting him.
Even before tonight’s impressive performance from Prograis, it would be highly doubtful that Taylor, Teofimo, or Ryan would want anything to do with fighting him. But after the way, he made easy work of Zepeda, I think it could prove impossible for Prograis to get fights against any of them until he ages and starts showing signs of slippage.
Regis lost his WBA belt to British fighter Josh Taylor by a questionable 12 round majority decision in London back in 2019, and there was no rematch given.
Prograis has been locked out by Taylor and Jose Ramirez until getting this opportunity tonight.
In other action on tonight’s card, heavyweight contender Bakhodir Jalolov (12-0, 12 KO’s) destroyed journeyman Curtis Harper (14-9, 9 KO’s) by a fourth-round knockout.
In the third, the 6’6″ Jalolov dropped Harper late in the round. Jalolov finished off Harper in the fourth, dropping him and then getting the stoppage after he got back to his feet.
It’s unclear why the 2020 Olympic gold medalist Jalolov is still fighting opposition like Harper because he turned pro in 2018. By this point in the 28-year-old Jalolov’s career, he should be fighting better opposition than this.
What’s really troubling is that Jalolov is fighting much in the same way he did as an amateur. He’s not showing variation in his career, and he’s going to have problems when he runs into Joe Joyce again unless he changes his game. Joyce made easy work of Jalolov in the amateurs.
Although Jalolov is good at dishing out punishment, he doesn’t take it too well, as we saw in his fight against the rugged Joyce.