The boxing calendar rarely fails to surprise, but this December promises to be an absolute treat for the aficionados of the sport. As the year comes to a close, Matchroom’s roster reveals an exhilarating lineup that promises to keep fans on the edge of their seats. While we were already marking our calendars for the Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez and Sunny Edwards faceoff on December 16, another announcement has added fuel to the year-end fire.
Fresh off the press is the news that Devin Haney, the undefeated powerhouse with an awe-inspiring record of 30-0 (15 KO’s), is preparing to elevate his game. Moving from lightweight to super-lightweight, Haney’s debut in this new weight class promises to be nothing short of spectacular. But the path isn’t going to be a stroll in the park. Waiting for him in the ring is Regis Prograis, a titan with a formidable record of 29-1 (24 KO’s).
Set against the iconic backdrop of the Chase Centre in San Francisco, this battle isn’t just about the fighters. It’s about legacy, pride, and the highly coveted WBC belt. Prograis, with fire in his eyes, is gearing up to defend this belt for the second time. And with the weight of his prior defence in June against Danielito Zorrilla, where many criticized his performance despite the win, he knows there’s much more on the line.
San Francisco isn’t just another venue for Haney; it’s a trip down memory lane. Returning to his birthplace, the ‘Frisco native is fueled with emotion and determination. “The energy in the building is going to be electric,” Haney voiced passionately in a press release, evoking the sentimental value of this fight. For him, this bout is more than just business. While he maintains, “It’s never personal. This is business at the end of the day,” he also acknowledges the raw intensity of the ring, adding, “…when we get in the ring, we don’t have respect for each other.”
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Regis Prograis isn’t just another opponent. With only one blemish on his record, a defeat to Josh Taylor in 2019, he’s been a force to reckon with in the 10-stone division. Names that once echoed with dominance now seem to have dimmed, but Prograis has consistently been the shining star. And with the division witnessing a rebirth of sorts with the likes of Teofimo Lopez and Ryan Garcia, he has been unwavering in his stance. “Devin has done well at 135lbs but I’m the best in the world at 140lbs and I will prove that once again,” he affirmed with confidence.
The pre-fight narrative has been as thrilling as one can expect. Matchroom’s promotional video, “Talk Ends,” is a testament to the bubbling tension and rivalry. It’s a space where both fighters have let loose, with Haney boldly claiming his intent to dominate, and Prograis retorting with equal ferocity, hinting at the brutal clash that awaits.
But every story has its complexities. Haney’s recent fights against Vasily Lomachenko & George Kambosos Jr. have cast shadows of doubt, with fans and critics alike questioning the outcomes. The whispers grew louder with Haney’s avoidance of a rematch with Lomachenko and his swift exit from the 135-lb division. Similarly, Prograis’s win against Danielito Zorrilla raised eyebrows, leaving many wondering about the fairness of the decision.
Despite the controversies, both fighters seem laser-focused on the task at hand. Haney acknowledges the threat that Prograis poses, stating, “Regis is going to be trying to knock me out, and that’s exactly what I need him to be TRYING to do.” He knows the challenge that lies ahead, especially given Prograis’s power, something Haney has struggled with in recent bouts.
As the countdown to this epic showdown begins, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing encapsulates the sentiment of many, declaring, “Haney-Prograis is one of the fights of the year.” San Francisco’s Chase Center is buzzing in anticipation, awaiting a battle of titans.
With both fighters having something to prove and a city eagerly awaiting a spectacle, this December battle is more than just a fight—it’s an event. One thing’s for certain: the boxing world will be watching intently.