Julius Indongo will have another chance to challenge for a world title if he beats Regis Prograis of the United States in Deadwood, South Dakota on Friday night.
The two will fight for the Interim WBC super lightweight title, with the winner due to challenge for the WBC world title later in the year.
After Terence Crawford beat Indongo to unify the super lightweight division in August last year, he vacated his titles and moved up to the welterweight division.
Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam will now fight for the vacant WBC world super lightweight title on 17 March, and the winner is expected to take on the winner between Indongo and Prograis later this year.
It will be Indongo’s first fight since his defeat to Crawford, and he faces a tough prospect against the unbeaten Prograis.
The 29-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas has an impressive record, and is still undefeated after 20 fights, of which 17 came via knockout. Of his last 14 fights, he has won 13 by knockout, with only one fight going the distance.
Indongo, who suffered his first defeat against Crawford, has a record of 22 wins and one loss.
In his last fight in June last year, Prograis won the North American Boxing Federation super lightweight title in devastating fashion with a second-round technical knockout against compatriot Joel Diaz.
Diaz was also unbeaten at that stage with 22 successive victories, but he did not stand a chance against Prograis, who knocked him down four times before the referee stopped the fight.
Prograis was initially supposed to fight the Russian Viktor Postol, but after he withdrew due to injury on 12 February, it didn’t take long before Indongo was installed as Prograis’ new opponent.
The next day, in fact, Indongo’s promoter Lou DiBella announced that Indongo would fight Prograis.
“While it is unfortunate that Viktor Postol suffered this training injury, we’re thrilled that Julius Indongo jumped right at the opportunity to face Regis Prograis for the interim WBC title,” he said, adding, “Regis wanted to prove himself against the best, and he will still be afforded that opportunity when he meets former champion Indongo in what promises to be a sensational clash of styles.”
In a recent interview with boxingscene.com, Prograis said he had jumped at the chance to face Indongo.
“Lou called and told me about what happened to Viktor Postol, and that Indongo could be the new opponent. I said yes immediately,” said Prograis. “I always want to fight the best, and with Indongo being a former unified champion, he brings a great deal of credibility to the fight. Both of his titles were won on the road in Russia and Scotland, so I know how fearless and determined he will be.
“I had to switch up my training a little for sparring with Indongo being a lefty and a little taller, but I’m sparring with middleweights. I’ve heard how hard he hits, and I want to be fully prepared. Maybe down the line, Postol and I could still fight, but I’m only focused on Indongo now. This is my time and my year to shine. I’m ready to put on a spectacular performance on 9 March,” he said.
DiBella, meanwhile, praised the championship mentality of both boxers.
“This fight came together in a matter of two phone calls – one to Prograis and another to Indongo – and that speaks volumes about the championship mentality of both fighters,” he said.
“Prograis wanted to fight the best fighter available, even if that fighter presented a different style, and was recently a unified champion. Indongo immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a champion again. They are true professionals, and their desire to fight will be evident in the ring.”
Indongo, who has been training in Omaha, Nebraska, said he was excited and looking forward to getting back into the ring.
“I’m very excited to fight Regis Prograis,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for me towards becoming a world champion again. I know how good Prograis is, but come 9 March, I’ll be victorious.”