Prograis defeats Zorrilla to retain the world light heavyweight title

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American Regis Prograis wins a split decision over Puerto Rico's Danielito Zorrilla to retain his WBC light-welterweight crown (AL BELLO)

American Regis Prograis wins a split decision over Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrilla to retain his WBC light-welterweight crown (AL BELLO)

Hometown hero Regis Prograis retained his World Boxing Council light-welterweight crown on Saturday with a split decision win over Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrilla in New Orleans.

The program won with judges scores of 118-109 and 117-110 and the third judge saw Zorrilla win 114-113.

“I was confident that I would get the decision,” said Prorais. “It was a tough win but I felt I deserved the win.

Prograis, who managed the only official knockdown in the third round of a fight filled with knockdowns and slides, improved to 29-1 while the elusive Zorrilla fell to 17-2.

“I got the drop early and I kept pushing the action but he ran all the time,” said Prograis. “I definitely need to go back to the gym and work on some things but he ran, he definitely tried to live.

Prograis, 34, suffered his only loss in a 2019 title unification showdown with Scotsman Josh Taylor, but the southpaw has won all five of his fights since, including an 11th knockout round of American Jose Zepeda last November for the vacant WBC title at 140 pounds. .

Despite his short tenure, Prograis is the division’s longest reigning champion among major belt holders.

Late in the first round, Zorrilla sent Prograis sprawling with a right but the champion grabbed Zorrilla and pushed him to the ground, prompting referee Ray Corona not to stop him, instead the two were ruled by push

“It was a good punch, it was that right hand that caught me,” said Prograis. “It looks like a knockdown but when I did it, it didn’t feel like that. I was never hurt.”

Prograis hit Zorrilla in the nose with a hard left hand just under a minute into the third round that sent his opponent to the canvas and halfway through the round he landed on the Puerto Rican fight as he was trapped in a corner.

“He was stronger than I thought. He caught me with a few punches,” said Prograis. “But he ran around. It was hard to get to him.

“He felt the power when I dropped him and he started running even more. “

Fighters traded punches from a distance for most of the middle rounds, each carefully testing his opponent’s resolve without taking too many risks in a tactical bout.

Prograis went to the canvas on a slope in the 10th round when the left legs of both fighters got stuck.

Zorrilla, 29, and Prograis began exchanging inside punches with urgency in the 11th round, sensing that the fight was still up for grabs.

Prograis fell forward seconds into the 12th round but Corona ruled with a push to the back of his head putting him on the canvas. He got up and they gave a few blows to the last bell.


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