On Saturday, February 11, DiBella Entertainment’s popular “Broadway Boxing” series will make its debut in Biloxi, MS, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, with the highly anticipated ring return of rising junior welterweight contender Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (18-0, 15 KOs). He will be defending his NABF title for the first time against Colombian Wilfrido Buelvas (18-6, 12 KOs) in a 10-round bout. The card is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Rite Hook Promotions in association with Hard Rock Casino. The “Broadway Boxing” series is presented by Nissan of Queens, Azad Watches, OPTYX, and Christos Steak House.
A native of New Orleans, Prograis was forced to abandon his home in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He was enrolled in six different high schools while moving all around Texas before graduating and settling in Houston. Looking for an outlet to channel his frustration, Prograis embarked on an amateur boxing campaign that culminated with an 87-7 record over a four-year span, before turning pro in 2012. Given his relentless approach inside the ropes, Prograis’ father gave him the nickname “Rougarou”, which, in New Orleans folklore, is a mythical half-man/half-werewolf creature.
Trained by Bobby Benton out of Houston’s Main Street Gym, Prograis signed with DiBella Entertainment in late 2014 and saw his career soar the following year. In 2015, Prograis moved up to competing in eight- and 10-round bouts, was included among ESPN’s “Prospects to Watch”, and made his ShoBox debut on SHOWTIME. Three consecutive appearances on “ShoBox: The New Generation” included decisive victories over 11-0-1 Amos Cowart and 14-0-2 Abel Ramos as well as a crushing first-round stoppage of the experienced Aaron Herrera. Prograis made his New York debut in his last bout on June 25 at Barclays Center, stopping Luis Florez in four rounds to capture the NABF belt. Ranked no. 8 by the WBC, Prograis was sidelined for several months due to an injury suffered at the gym and is anxious to get back into the ring.
“I’m really excited to finally get back inside the ring,” said Prograis. “It’s been a while and I’ve been training since my last fight in New York. What makes this even better is that I’ll be fighting in front of my home crowd because Biloxi is about an hour drive from New Orleans. I’ve fought in Mississippi twice already and had excellent performances and I plan on making this my third.”
“With three impressive outings in front of a national audience and a high ranking, Regis Prograis is on the cusp of making his mark on the world stage,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Now that he is healthy, Prograis will pick up where he left off with another dominant performance in front of fans close to home. Broadway Boxing is a brand that continues to expand and I am thrilled to bring the series to Biloxi at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.”
Junior middleweight prospect Eric Walker (14-0, 7 KOs) will fight on the undercard in his DBE debut. The 33-year-old from Plaquemine, LA, turned pro in 2013, after serving 13 years in a Louisiana penitentiary on a conviction of armed robbery. It was in prison that Walker found his passion for boxing, compiling a record of 61-1 in the prison boxing system. Walker would like his story to be an inspiration to the youth not to make the same mistakes he did. It was in December 2015 when Walker faced unbeaten 13-0 southpaw favorite Christopher Pearson that the world took notice of his heart and talent. Fighting on a Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike TV, Walker handed Pearson his first defeat via eight-round unanimous decision in a “Fight of the Year” candidate. On June 25, 2016, Walker went the 10-round distance for the first time to seize the WBC Continental Americas 154lb. belt.
Returning to the ring for the first time since 2015, light heavyweight contender Cedric Agnew (28-2, 14 KOs) will also appear on the card in an eight-round bout. A former USBA and WBC-USNBC titlist, Agnew, who is a Chicago native that later relocated to Houston, challenged Sergey Kovalev for the WBO world light heavyweight championship in 2014.
“We are finally gaining momentum with professional boxing along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina that our company has worked very hard to achieve,” said William Hunter, President of Rite Hook Promotions. “There has always been a market for boxing in Biloxi, and a lot of great fighters have competed here including Regis Prograis. We are building a solid foundation with the Hard Rock Casino Biloxi and a partnership with DiBella Entertainment that will ensure more champions and future champions will be able to showcase their talents in Biloxi for the foreseeable future on a televised national platform.”
An announcement with the full card will be released soon.
Tickets for the February 11 “Broadway Boxing” event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Rite Hook Promotions in association with Hard Rock Casino, are priced at $75, $60, $50, $40 and standing room only for $20. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com (by clicking HERE) or by calling 800-745-3000. The “Broadway Boxing” series is presented by Nissan of Queens, Azad Watches, OPTYX, and Christos Steak House. Doors open at 5:O0pm CT, with the first fight scheduled for 6:00pm CT.