UNDEFEATED REGIS PROGRAIS TO FACE FORMER WORLD CHAMPION VIKTOR POSTOL FOR WBC INTERIM SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FRIDAY, MARCH 9 LIVE ON SHOWTIME
Ivan Baranchyk To Meet Fellow-Unbeaten Anthony Yigit In IBF Junior Welterweight Title Eliminator
NEW YORK (Feb. 6, 2018) – Undefeated 140-pound contender Regis Prograis and former world champion Viktor Postol will face off for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight World Championship on Friday, March 9 in the 12-round main event of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Deadwood Mountain Grand in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs), of Houston by way of New Orleans, has scored knockouts in 13 of his last 14 fights and is a rising star in the wide-open 140-pound division. The aggressive-minded southpaw will face the toughest test of his career in Postol, a former WBC Super Lightweight World Champion with only one loss on his record.
In the 12-round co-feature, undefeated 140-pound contenders Ivan Baranchyk (17-0, 10 KOs) and Anthony Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) will square off in a Junior Welterweight World Title Eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for IBF champion Sergey Lipinets. Lipinets will defend his belt the following day, March 10, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® against undefeated three-division champion Mikey Garcia.
“I feel I’m one of the best junior welterweights in the world and this is my chance to display my belief in myself,” Prograis said. “I’m very excited to be fighting Viktor Postol – he’s a very experienced fighter that previously held the WBC world title. I want to become a world champion this year, and I know Viktor Postol wants to reclaim his title, but we have to go through each other first. This is a great fight for boxing because you have two hungry fighters. It’s a can’t-miss fight.”
“My goal is to become a world champion again and I know a win over Regis Prograis will bring me one step closer,” Postol said. “I have been training hard for the past couple of months and I’m very excited for the opportunity to face Prograis on March 9.”
“My next fight is very important for my career and I am preparing for it very seriously,” Baranchyk said. “A few months ago, I moved to Miami, Fla., where I am now being trained by Pedro Diaz. I have strict discipline for everything in my training. I’m working on improving my skills, tactics for the fight, my skill set and physical strength. I’m also maintaining a much stricter diet and eating very healthy. I want every fighter to know if I am in the boxing ring you will never have an easy fight with me.”
“My dream is to become a world champion and I need to defeat Baranchyk to continue on my path,” Yigit said. “This will be my first time fighting in the United States but I’m ready to show the boxing fans that I have what it takes to become a world champion. From Stockholm, Sweden to Deadwood, South Dakota, onward my journey continues.”
“Two excellent super lightweight matchups highlight this SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION on March 9. At the Deadwood Mountain Grand in South Dakota, the rising young gun will duel the seasoned ex-champion,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis can earn a world championship by beating his toughest foe, the respected and formidable Viktor Postol, with the interim WBC title at stake. Undefeated puncher Ivan Baranchyk is truly ‘The Beast’ in the ring and is determined to blaze a path toward a world title shot in his IBF eliminator, taking on Sweden’s European Champion, former Olympian, Anthony ‘Can You Dig It?’ Yigit.”
“Prograis and Baranchyk have appeared a combined nine times on ShoBox: The New Generation and it’s fulfilling to see their development from talented prospects to legitimate contenders,” said Gordon Hall, ShoBox Executive Producer and SVP Production, SHOWTIME Sports. “We view this progression as a validation for the ShoBox series, and we’re thrilled to see their hard work pay off with these potentially career-changing opportunities. These are two tough fights that will determine who is ready to take the next step in this exciting division.”
“We are thrilled that DiBella Entertainment is bringing big time boxing back to South Dakota,” said Susan Kightlinger, General Manager at Deadwood Mountain Grand. “Deadwood is renowned for its rough and tumble past and professional boxing fits that mold perfectly. It’s an amazing card, great fighters and SHOWTIME is the ultimate name in boxing. It’s a perfect fit!”
A consensus top-10 ranked fighter at 140 pounds, the 29-year-old Prograis has beaten three previously undefeated fighters on the SHOWTIME developmental series ShoBox: The New Generation. Prograis stamped his arrival as a legitimate contender in the 140-pound division on June 9 scoring four knockdowns of previously undefeated Joel Diaz Jr., en route to a second-round TKO. Following the fight, Prograis called out the top players in the 140-pound division, including Terence Crawford and Adrien Broner, and on March 9, he’ll get his first chance to prove he’s ready to face the division’s elite. Prograis’ nickname “Rougarou” originates from Louisiana folklore and is defined as a werewolf-like creature. Originally from New Orleans, Prograis relocated to Houston following Hurricane Katrina.
Postol won the vacant WBC 140-pound World Championship with a stunning and dominating 10th round knockout of Lucas Matthysse in 2015. The 34-year-old Ukrainian attempted to unify the division in his first defense, losing via unanimous decision to then-WBO champion Terence Crawford in 2016. He has since bounced back with a win over previously unbeaten Jamshidbek Najmiddinov last September in his native Ukraine. A win would move him one step closer to earning back the coveted WBC title he lost.
The co-feature also pits two of the top prospects in the 140-pound division, each with an opportunity to score the biggest win of their respective careers.
The aggressive-minded Baranchyk is a former amateur standout that packs power in both hands. The 25-year-old native of Belarus is currently ranked No. 4 in the IBF at 140 pounds and owns seven wins over previously undefeated fighters. He’s gone the 10-round distance three times and is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision over then-undefeated Keenan Smith last July on ShoBox in his adopted hometown of Miami, Okla.
The 26-year-old Yigit competed in the 2012 Olympics for Sweden, advancing to the second round before losing a very narrow decision to eventual Silver Medalist Denys Berinchyk. The Stockholm native has tallied 21 victories in just four years following the Olympics while campaigning in Europe. The southpaw will make his U.S. debut against Baranchyk as he looks to prove he’s ready to contend on the world stage.