By Robert Coster
Boxing fans on the lookout for emerging talent should definitely keep an eye on junior welterweight Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (15-0, 12 KOs) out of New Orleans, Louisiana. The 26-year-old southpaw recently gave an impressive account of himself in Atlantic City, NJ on the “Showbox New Generation” TV broadcast, pitching a shutout against felloe unbeaten prospect Amos Cowart. Particularly impressed was former world champion Raul Marquez who was on the ringside broadcast crew. “From what I saw, Regis has the tools to go all the way,” stated Marquez. “I predict a bright future for this young man.”
Regis first got a taste of boxing in his native New Orleans as a teenager, training in local clubs. Then, Hurricane Katrina forced his family to relocate to Houston, Texas, in 2005. To kill time, young Regis went to the Savannah Boxing Club and started being used by heavier boxers as a sparring partner. That is how he caught the attention of boxing manager J. Johns who saw the potential in the young man and launched him into competitive boxing. Fighting in the amateur ranks, Regis compiled an excellent 87-7 record before turning pro in 2012.
In the three years he has fought as a pro, Regis has been steadily improving the quality of his opposition. In his 13th fight, the young man from New Orleans scored an impressive five round knockout of veteran Hector Velasquez, a boxer who had fought seven world champions (and gone the distance with five of them). Regis’ promoter, DiBella Entertainment, started negotiating with Showbox to put him on their cards.
Watching the fight against Cowart, one can spot what makes Regis Prograis one to watch. He has an excellent jab, hand speed, poise and power. But Regis’ greatest assets says manager Johns are “his mind and will. He is totally dedicated to training and improving.”
And what about Regis’ strange nickname “Rougarou” (pronounced Rooo-gah-roo)? The word is a derivative from the French word loup-garou, a legendary half-man, half-beast – a werewolf. Remembers manager Johns with a chuckle, ” Regis was training in New Orleans and one onlooker shouted: This boy is a rougarou, a beast! The name stuck and Regis does not step into the ring to fight without his werewolf outfit.”
Robert Coster is an excellent judge of boxing talent. To date, five young fighters from his “New Faces” series have gone on to win world titles (Tomoki Kameda, Evgeny Gradovich, Johan Perez, Nicholas Walters and Ruslan Provodnikov).