By Jack Tiernan: Regis Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) weighed in at 139 pounds and his opponent Tyrone McKenna (22-2-1, 6 KOs) came in at 139.75 lbs for their WBC light welterweight title eliminator this Saturday, March 19th at the Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai.
The winner of the Prograis vs. McKenna fight on Saturday will face Jose Zepeda for the soon-to-be-vacant WBC 140-lb title. That’s going to be a tough fight for the Prograis-Mckenna winner to deal with, considering Zepeda is one of the biggest punchers in the weight class and would give anyone problems.
Currently, undisputed light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor holds the WBC belt, but he’s planning on vacating the belts and going up to 147 soon to challenge for a world title against one of the welterweight champions.
The former WBA 140-lb champion Prograis is a big favorite to defeat #17 WBC ranked McKenna on Saturday night, as there’s a big difference between them in terms of experience and pedigree.
McKenna, 32, is getting this opportunity to face Prograis after the two had words on social media. Rather than brush aside, Prograis chose to give the Irish fighter an opportunity to face him.
For McKenna, this is one chance at putting himself in a position to challenge for a world title if he can beat the 33-year-old Prograis.
Prograis feels pressure
“I have a lot of pressure on me this week because I’m a huge favorite in this fight,” said Prograis to iFL TV on him being a massive favorite to beat the little-known McKenna.
“I have a lot of pressure to come out and perform, but at the same time, I can’t just be locked in the room all day. I don’t have to get touched anymore,” Prograis continued.
“I feel like the last two fighters I fought could beat him, and I whooped their a**, both of them. I didn’t even get touched by both of them,” said Prograis in referring to Ivan Redkach and Juan Heraldez.
“So, I can go out there, and I don’t even have to get touched by a glove probably by the whole fight. But it depends on what he brings out of me. Maybe I want to go into a war or maybe I don’t.
“Maybe I want to give the fans something, but at the same time, the victory is the most important thing. Getting that belt is the most important thing,” said Prograis.
“I’m highly ranked in all of them, but this is for the WBC final eliminator, this fight,” said Regis. “Yeah, that’s why Mauricio Sulaiman is here. So this is for the WBC final eliminator. That means I fight for the world title in the next fight, no matter who is next.
“I think Jose Zepeda is #1, so it might be me and Zepeda. That’s a good fight,” said Prograis.
This is a fight in which Prograis has got to look good in winning because he’s selected a fighter that isn’t ranked in the top 10 to fight in McKenna.
Prograis has done an excellent job of coming back from his 12 round majority decision defeat against Josh Taylor in 2019, winning his last two fights against Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach.
Although Prograis probably would have already earned another title shot by now if he’d been more active during the last three years since his loss to Taylor, it’s still worked out well. Prograis is in a good position now to become a two-time world champion as long as he beats McKenna and Zepeda.
Regis: “I’m going to run him over”
“Just like in the fighter’s meetings, they said, ‘Are you a level above him?’ No, I’m about five levels above him,” Prograis said about Tyrone McKenna. “Even saying that I’m taking this 100% serious because I want to be champion again. That’s my main thing to be champion again.
“I could have gone up and got some big-money fights and stuff. Everybody told me to go up to 147 and do this and do that. I’m like, ‘Nah, I want to be champion again.’ It’s something personal that Iw and, and I bet on myself. Now, I’m in this situation. I, of course, respect Terrell McKenna, but I just feel like I’m going to run him over.
“After that, I fight for a belt again and become a two-time world champion,” said Prograis.