Eight fighters, including seven undefeated prospects, with a combined record of 92-1-5, weighed-in Thursday for the ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader taking place Friday from Bayou City Event Center in Houston.
Headlining the DiBella Entertainment- and Savarese Promotions-promoted event will be talented local prospectRegis Prograis (15-0, 12 KOs), who faces fellow unbeaten Abel Ramos (14-0-2, 9 KOs) in the 10-round super lightweight main event.
In the co-feature, Bryant Cruz (16-0, 8 KOs) takes on Belgium’s Dardan Zenunaj (10-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout.
Rounding out the telecast, Steed Woodall (8-0-1, 5 KOs) and Steve Rolls (12-0, 6 KOs) clash in an eight-round middleweight match, and fast-rising Ivan Baranchyk (8-0, 7 KOs) faces Shadi Shawareb (9-0-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight match.
Super Lightweights Main Event – 10 Rounds
Regis Prograis – 140 Pounds
Abel Ramos – 139 Pounds
Lightweights Co-Feature – 8 Rounds
Bryant Cruz – 132¾ Pounds
Dardan Zenunaj – 131½ Pounds
Middleweights – 8 Rounds
Steed Woodall – 159¼ Pounds
Steve Rolls – 159½ Pounds
Super Lightweights – 8 Rounds
Ivan Baranchyk – 139¼ Pounds
Shadi Shawareb – 141¾ Pounds
“He’s a tougher opponent than the guys I’ve faced, and a bigger guy, but I’m coming to win.
“I’ve been living in Houston fighting those rugged Mexican fighters for the last 10 years. I know how to fight tough guys like that. I know what he’s bringing.
“I didn’t get the knockout [against Amos Cowart], which is what I wanted, but I did land a lot of punches.
“I think if I hurt Ramos early I’ll be able to take him out, but I feel that he won’t hurt me.
“I have a lot of people coming out from New Orleans. I’m not worried about the crowd – I’m here to do what I have to do.
“We can fight on the inside and pound it out or fight on the outside. We’re ready for anything.”
“I don’t feel like I’m coming in as the underdog at all. I have much more amateur experience and I have more of an edge over him.
“This time you’re going to see the real Abel Ramos. I’m feeling really good. I’m prepared and conditioned. You’re going to see a little bit of everything in the ring on Friday.
“He’s [Prograis] a very busy guy in the ring and throws a lot of punches but we will see how we handle it in the ring.
“I know he throws a lot of punches and I believe I can do the same but better. He throws a lot, but they’re not effective. Going anywhere from eight to 10 rounds, I have an advantage to wear him down.
“I want to dedicate this fight to my cousin Margarito Camacho who passed away of a heart attack this Monday at only 43 years old.”
“I’ve been living here [Houston] and training here. I’m trained by the best with Ronnie (Shields) and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’m getting a lot of attention with him as my trainer and I’m getting to learn much more about myself as a fighter and my technique.
“Of course I believe there’s always more to learn and with a trainer like Ronnie I’ve gained much more confidence. I feel the difference improving my technique.
“Sometimes I just have the instinct [to get aggressive] and I want to go at it and put the pressure on to really please the crowd.
“He’s [Dardan] not hard to look for and he likes to come forward. I know he will be right in front of me and I know what to look for there.
“I’m a New York guy, so here in Houston I am a little bit out of my element, but I do have some people from back home coming out to support me. I am going to go out there and go for it.
“I want to put on a good show but I’m also going to be a smart fighter and go in with my game plan to do what I came here to do.
“I knew I was serious about boxing after my first time sparring. I got beat up and I knew I couldn’t just give the guy that. After that, I stopped partying, stopped drinking and started running and training. When I went back I knew I was ready to beat him and I did.
“Since I started, I haven’t missed a single day in the gym; even when I’m not training for a fight I’m always training and refuse to miss a day in the gym.”
“Moving to Oxnard to work with Robert (Garcia) has been a big step in my career. I’ve sparred with (Vasyl) Lomachenko, Mikey (Garcia), (Jesus) Cuellar, Brandon Rios, some of the best fighters in boxing.
“I spared with Lomachenko for four weeks for his last fight.
“This is my first fight after moving to Oxnard so we are excited to show what we have been working on, show how we’ve improved.
“I took this fight on short notice, but we’ve been working in the gym. This is a good opportunity for us. This is the fight we’ve been waiting for. He’s undefeated but beatable.
“I wasn’t worried because I was only about four pounds off-weight.
“I’m the type of guy who wants to fight the toughest fights.
“I knew that if I wanted to make a real name for myself in boxing I would have to go after it myself. I knew I would have to come to America for I wanted to accomplish.
“I have watched Cruz and I know the way he fights. It’s all mental. I have that drive – I’d die in the ring. I’ve seen Cruz and he doesn’t have that.”
“We’ve been working with Ronnie Shields for about five months now, sparring with Jermall Charlo and Edwin Rodriguez. Having those guys around is a great experience. I’m always in competition with them, pushing myself to the limit and learning from them.
“I have a naturally aggressive approach, even when I started as an amateur at 14 years-old. Now I am working off different approaches and know that I just need to let my hands go. Ronnie is putting the finishing touches on me.
“Through training I’ve learned different approaches with my style. Different guys come in and with each of the different fights I learn different styles. I am always in competition to learn more and I am always training.
“I want to show the judges and the fans how much this fight means to me. I am going to be aggressive but will be fighting intelligently as well.
“This is a pivotal fight for me because I’ve been alone in most of my fights, but this time by mom will be here along with my brother, sister and brother-in-law. My mom is my biggest inspiration and to have her here means the world to me.”
“He’s a young hungry guy that is coming to fight. I’m not taking him lightly. This is definitely the toughest fight for both of us.
“I feel great. I have had six to eight weeks of training and I feel great and ready.
“I’ve watched a little bit [of Woodall] and learned about him. He looks aggressive and has a good amateur background, as do I.
“I let my trainers watch the fight footage and I just see whatever I need to see. I love to capitalize on my opponent’s mistakes.
“I feel better than ever. During running and training I feel much better than when I was in my twenties. Regardless of my age, I still feel that I haven’t even reached my prime.
“Now, as a fighter, I am much more confident and more relaxed with my strategy.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to fight on national TV against an undefeated guy. This is my big shot.”
“I have been training very hard for this fight. This opportunity is what I have been working so hard for.
“As a young, motivated fighter, I want to continue to improve and never stop working towards getting better every day.
“When I first started training, even as an amateur, I realized the potential and the impact of my power punch.
“I do not stop training. I am extremely motivated and will keep working harder than anybody else to get where I want to be.”
“I am not worried that I took the fight on short notice. I stay prepared and I have been in the gym staying in good shape.
“I am always busy. When I’m not working, I’m in the gym training.
“I know I need to mix it up, get inside and outside. I’m going to throw out a little bit of everything.”