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Prograis needs new foe after Paro injury, but unlikely to be Barboza
WBC junior welterweight titlist due to make first defense June 17
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Less than a week after Matchroom Boxing announced that Regis Prograis’ first WBC junior welterweight title defense would be against Liam Paro, he needs a new opponent.
Paro suffered an undisclosed injury and has withdrawn from the fight, Matchroom Boxing said on Thursday.
The announcement of the fight coincided with Prograis’ signing a three-fight promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing earlier this month. The first fight of the deal was supposed be against Australian southpaw Paro (23-0, 14 KOs), 27, who is also with Matchroom Boxing, on June 17 at the Smoothie King Center in Prograis’ hometown of New Orleans.
Matchroom Boxing is seeking to line up a new opponent for the fight that will headline a DAZN show.
Matchroom Boxing did reach out to Top Rank on Thursday about the availability of unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza Jr., according to both sides. However, that appears to be a no go.
“Liam Paro, he pulled out. He had an injury, right? Supposedly (Wednesday). The replacement is supposed to be Arnold Barboza and we’re gonna see if he takes the fight or not,” Prograis said in a video done while he was driving that was posted to his Twitter account. “I know for a long time he’s been calling me out. He say he want the fight. Now is his shot.
“Let’s see if he gonna take the fight. I’m calling you out right now, Arnold Barboza. You got a chance to fight for the belt and you been calling me out. So, let’s see if you’ll actually take the fight or you gonna hide behind the business side of things.”
Barboza, also driving, made a response video posted to his Twitter account.
“I’ve seen Regis’ little video,” Barboza said. “I respect the dude but get the fuck outta here bro with that ‘don’t hide behind business side of things.’ When you were supposed to sign with Top Rank that fight was pretty much guaranteed to me once you signed. You put pen to paper, that fight was gonna get made, plus all the other 140s that are with Top Rank. You decided to go another route because of business side of things right, because it’s better for you, right?
“So don’t come at me dog with ‘business side of things.’ Come on, man, don’t do that. All of a sudden you don’t have no dance partner. You want me on three-week notice. That’s fine. I want the fight. We’re gonna get it. Talk to (Matchroom Boxing promoter) Eddie Hearn. Tell him to send the right number and let’s do it.”
Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs), a 34-year-old southpaw, won the vacant WBC title by exciting 11th-round knockout of Jose Zepeda on Nov. 26 to become a two-time junior welterweight titleholder. Soon after, he became a promotional free agent when Disrupt Promotions, which had taken over many of the contracts of the now-defunct Probellum, released him. As a free agent, Prograis attracted interest from the major players, including an offer from Top Rank, but Prograis eventually signed with Matchroom Boxing.
Barboza (28-0, 10 KOs), 31, of Los Angeles, is coming off his most significant win, a unanimous decision against former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza on Feb. 3 in Glendale, Arizona.
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Prograis/Hearn photo: Melina Pizano/Matchroom Boxing
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