Junior welterweight Regis Prograis, thought-about by many to be No. 1 within the weight class, did nothing to dissuade anybody of that notion as he dominated Juan Jose Velasco on Saturday evening.

Prograis knocked him down thrice with physique photographs en path to an eighth-round knockout earlier than three,615 at Lakefront Area on the campus of the College of New Orleans.

Combating for the primary time in his hometown, Prograis, who fled New Orleans to Houston within the wake of Hurricane Katrina however has at all times needed to return dwelling to combat, acquired his likelihood in the principle occasion of the Prime Rank Boxing on ESPN card, and with the victory earned a spot within the eight-man World Boxing Tremendous Sequence event that begins this fall.

“It was super special,” Prograis stated of combating at dwelling. “My goal was to bring big-time boxing back to New Orleans, and now you have it.”

Regis Prograis celebrates his victory in entrance of his hometown crowd in New Orleans. Alex Menendez/Getty Photos

Velasco was sport, however Prograis (22-Zero, 19 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw, gained handily. He landed quite a few mixtures, labored the physique very effectively and confirmed quick palms and good motion to maintain Velasco off steadiness. Velasco landed a couple of respectable photographs, however regardless that Prograis fought for lengthy stretches together with his palms down, Velasco could not do a lot.

“This dude came in unknown and he’s going to go down to be known. I’m not gonna lie. He was one of my toughest opponents,” Prograis stated. “I kept dropping him. He was super tough. He was actually really strong, but I pushed through. I couldn’t lose in front of my hometown.”

Within the fourth spherical, Prograis pressured Velasco, who was dealing with his first recognizable opponent, to the ropes and landed a strong mixture that did injury close to the top of the spherical. Within the fifth spherical, Prograis dropped Velasco with a left hand to the physique. He barely beat the depend however survived the ultimate 45 seconds of the spherical.

Prograis landed one other brutal left hand to the physique late within the seventh spherical to drop Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs), 31, of Argentina, once more. He needed to give up on his stool after the spherical, however his coach, Herman Caicedo, talked him into persevering with.

He did not final for much longer. Prograis knocked him down with one other left to the physique early within the eighth spherical, however when Velasco acquired up he acquired additional restoration time as a result of he had spit out his mouthpiece and referee Laurence Cole referred to as timeout to have it changed. However when the combat resumed, so to did Prograis’ assault, and about 30 seconds later Caicedo threw within the towel, prompting Cole to wave off the combat at 1 minute, 59 seconds.

Prograis was closely favored in opposition to Velasco and can be the favourite to win the World Boxing Tremendous Sequence that can even embody world titleholder Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs), of Belarus, and former world titlist Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24 KOs), of Russia, who will meet in a compulsory bout in one of many quarterfinals; Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk (18-Zero, 11 KOs) and Anthony Yigit (21-Zero-1, 7 KOs), of Sweden, who will meet for a vacant world title in one other quarterfinal; Scotland’s Josh Taylor (13-Zero, 11 KOs); and Cleveland’s Ryan Martin (22-Zero, 12 KOs). There may be nonetheless one different open slot that would go to former light-weight titlist Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs), 29, of England. The pairings for the non-mandatory bouts shall be unveiled on Friday.

“I’m going in the World Boxing Super Series [but] maybe the [Manny] Pacquiao fight,” Prograis stated of what he would love sooner or later. “I would love to have that fight, or if [pound-for-pound king and lightweight champion Vasiliy] Lomachenko wants to come up to 140, I’ll take that fight also. But as far as right now my plans are to go into the World Boxing Super Series.”

Prograis additionally would love an opportunity to combat titlist Jose Ramirez, whom he was mandated to combat however as a substitute gave up the interim title to face Velasco after which go into the event as a part of a deal their sides made to place the combat off. They stated they’ll revisit the combat if Prograis wins the event and Ramirez additionally retains successful.

“One day me and Jose Ramirez will probably fight,” Prograis stated. “I wanted it now, but we have different paths now. I’m gonna go in the World Boxing Super Series and hopefully pick up two belts.”

Lopez destroys Silva

Mega light-weight prospect Teofimo Lopez, 20, predicted he’d knock out William Silva within the fifth spherical. He was shut. He went a couple of seconds into the sixth spherical earlier than stopping Silva in a one-sided demolition.

Lopez (10-Zero, Eight KOs), in his first scheduled 10-round bout, practically ended it within the first spherical when he dropped Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) with a clear left hook on the chin with about 20 seconds to go. Though Lopez did not end Silva then, he dominated each spherical. He was a lot quicker and landed quite a few exhausting photographs to bloody the outclassed Silva, 31, of Brazil, and knock him again.

Within the fifth spherical, Lopez scored one other knockdown simply earlier than the bell. He landed a sequence of unpolluted punches earlier than flooring Silva with one other left hook.

The Las Vegas-based Lopez, a 2016 Olympian for Honduras (his dad and mom’ dwelling nation), continued to pound Silva within the sixth spherical, touchdown three left hooks and a proper to knock him down once more, inflicting referee Bruce McDaniel to cease the combat 15 seconds into the spherical.

Lopez got here into the combat with a heavy coronary heart, having had his canine — whom he referred to as his greatest buddy — die a couple of days in the past. He additionally stated he injured his proper hand.

“Set him up with the jab, don’t let him hit you with jab, you play with his mind,” Lopez stated of his technique. “I was setting him up so I could surprise him with a big shot. I’m [covered] with blood, but it’s his blood.”

Silva, 31, of Brazil, had solely misplaced as soon as beforehand, a lopsided resolution to Felix Verdejo, then one in all boxing’s prime prospects, in February 2016. Silva gained his subsequent two fights earlier than dealing with Lopez.

“It’s a takeover,” Lopez stated. “What else can I say? I’m no Felix Verdejo.”

  • Detroit light-weight Erick De Leon (18-Zero-1, 10 KOs), 26, survived a first-round knockdown and a shoulder harm to dominate Adrian Younger (25-5-2, 19 KOs), 25, of Mexico, in a unanimous resolution win. The judges scored it 98-91, 97-92 and 97-92 for De Leon, a southpaw educated by Robert Garcia, who was coming off a hard-fought majority draw with fellow unbeaten up-and-comer Andy Vences on March 10. Younger, in his first combat exterior of Mexico, dropped De Leon with a left hook within the first spherical however did little else the remainder of the bout. “He caught me a little bit cold with a good shot in the first round. He came to fight,” De Leon stated. “I basically fought the whole fight with one arm. I dislocated my right shoulder in the first round, but we made it work and got a good win against a tough opponent.”
  • Junior middleweight Charles Conwell (Eight-Zero, 6 KOs), 20, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, knocked out Travis Scott (19-Four, 5 KOs), 37, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, within the second spherical of their six-rounder. Conwell appeared to have misplaced the primary spherical however got here out extraordinarily aggressive within the second. He was taking it to Scott when he landed a tough left hand to the physique. Johnson went right down to a knee and took the total depend from referee Bruce McDaniel at 1 minute, 38 seconds. Scott misplaced his third combat in a row and for the fourth time in his final 5 fights. “I knew I could get him out of there, so I did,” Conwell stated. “I definitely want to step up my level of competition. I’d like to fight [world titlist] Jaime Munguia in the future, 100 percent. He’s perfect for me.”
  • Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Jean Carlos Rivera (14-Zero, 9 KOs), 22, of Orlando, Florida, stormed previous Angel Luna (11-5-1, 6 KOs), 28, of the Dominican Republic, stopping him in simply 82 seconds of their scheduled 10-rounder. Rivera nailed Luna with a clear left hook within the opening seconds of the combat and he by no means recovered. Rivera continued to pound him till he went down below heavy fireplace and referee Kevin Babineaux waved it off. “The fight went way easier than I expected,” Rivera stated. “I was prepared to fight 10 hard rounds, if necessary. I’ve been training very hard and now I want to take on bigger challenges. I want to face world-ranked fighters. I’m ready to step up my competition.”
  • Light-weight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (5-Zero, 2 KOs), 27, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist from Uzbekistan, took over within the second half of the combat to outpoint fellow prospect Kevin Johnson (5-1, Four KOs), 25, of Las Vegas. All three judges rating it 78-74 for Gaibnazarov, a southpaw, who discovered himself in a tricky combat by way of 5 rounds earlier than taking on. Within the seventh spherical, he pinned Johnson alongside the ropes and landed many exhausting punches, and he additionally gained the eighth spherical in opposition to Johnson, who had by no means been previous six rounds and seemed to be tiring. “He was a very tough, young fighter,” stated Gaibnazarov, whose left cheek was swollen. “He saw very good what I was trying to do. I hit him very hard in the liver and to the head, but he took all of my punches very well.”