Fight Week: Regis Prograis, Jose Zepeda to fight for vacant title; Dillian Whyte is back

FIGHT WEEK

Former beltholder Regis Prograis and longtime contender Jose Zepeda will fight for a vacant 140-pound title Saturday in Carson, California.

REGIS PROGRAIS (27-1, 23 KOs) vs. JOSE ZEPEDA (35-2, 27 KOs)

When: Saturday, Nov. 26
Time: 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
TV/Stream: Pay-per-view ($59.99)
Division: Junior welterweights (140 pounds)
At stake: Vacant WBC title
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Prograis 3½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Evelyn Bermudez vs. Yokasta Valle, junior flyweights (for Bermudez’s IBF and WBO titles); Ruben Torres vs. Eduardo Estela, lightweights; Charles Conwell vs. Juan Carlos Abreu, junior middleweights; Bakhodir Jalolov vs. Curtis Harper, heavyweights
Prediction: Prograis UD
Background: This is an excellent matchup between two talented, experienced 140-pounders for a vacant major title. Prograis, a terrific all-around fighter, is a former 140-pound titleholder who lost his belt by a close decision in a unification bout with Josh Taylor in 2019. The native of New Orleans has stopped three opponents since, Juan Heraldez, Ivan Redkach and Tyrone McKenna. The McKenna fight took place in March. Zepeda is an excellent technician who can also punch and take a good shot. This will be the Los Angeles-area fighter’s third attempt to win a major title. He fell to then 135-pound titleholder Terry Flanagan by a second-round technical knockout when he dislocated his shoulder in 2015. And he lost a majority decision to then-140-pound champ Jose Ramirez in 2019, a fight some believe Zepeda deserved to win. He’s 5-0 since that setback, including victories over respected opponents Jose Pedraza, Ivan Baranchyk and Hank Lundy. Zepeda last fought in October of last year, when he stopped Josue Vargas in one round.

 

DILLIAN WHYTE (28-3, 19 KOs) vs. JERMAINE FRANKLIN (21-0, 14 KOs)

When: Saturday, Nov. 26
Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (7 p.m. GMT) (main event later in show)
Where: OVO Arena, London
TV/Stream: DAZN
Division: Heavyweights (no limit)
At stake: No major titles
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Whyte 9½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Fabio Wardley vs. Nathan Gorman, heavyweights; Craig Richards vs. Ricards Bolotniks, light heavyweights; Sandy Ryan vs. Magali Rodriguez, junior welterweights
Prediction: Whyte KO 7
Background: Whyte, a 35-year-old perennial contender, begins another comeback against an unbeaten, but unproven American. The Londoner is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss to titleholder Tyson Fury this past April, his first shot at a major belt. That followed back-to-back fights against Alexander Povetkin, who stunned the boxing world by stopping Whyte with one punch in the fifth round in August 2020 and was stopped himself in the fourth round of the rematch the following March. Whyte has said he’d like to fight Anthony Joshua a second time if he can get past Franklin. Joshua handed Whyte his first loss, a seventh-round knockout in 2015. Franklin, a 29-year-old from Saginaw, Michigan, has passed every test in his career but has not faced a fighter of Whyte’s stature. He last fought in May, when he stopped journeyman Rodney Moore in five rounds. This will be Franklin’s first fight outside the United States. He might have a chance to fight Joshua if he has his hand raised Saturday.

 

ZACH PARKER (22-0, 16 KOs) vs. JOHN RYDER (31-5, 17 KOs)

When: Saturday, Nov. 26
Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (7 p.m. GMT) (main event later in show)
Where: 02 Arena, London
TV/Stream: ESPN+ (BT Sport in U.K.)
Division: Super middleweights (168 pounds)
At stake: No major titles
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Parker 1½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Hamzah Sheeraz vs. River Wilson-Bent, middleweights; Pierce O’Leary vs. Emmanuel Mungandjela, super middleweights; Dennis McCann vs. Joe Ham, junior featherweights; Sam Noakes vs. Calvin McCord, lightweights
Prediction: Ryder SD
Background: Parker and Ryder, ranked Nos. 1 and 2 by the WBO, will be fighting for the sanctioning body’s “interim” title and the right to face champion Canelo Alvarez. Ryder, who has made a strong impression against elite opponents in recent years, faces another stiff challenge in his hometown. The 34-year-old lost a unanimous decision to then-titleholder Callum Smith in 2019 but he pushed his respected countryman to his limits. And he upset Daniel Jacobs by a split decision in his most recent fight, this past February, proving that he belongs among the best 168-pounders. Parker, a 28-year-old from central England, is a well-schooled boxer-puncher. He has looked sensational in recent fights – stopping his last five opponents – but Ryder represents a step up in opposition. We’ll learn a lot about Parker in this fight.

 

ALSO FIGHTING THIS WEEK

TUESDAY

Mykquan Williams vs. Clarence Booth, junior welterweights, New York (FITE).

FRIDAY

Yulihan Luna vs. TBA, bantamweights (for Luna’s WBC title), Monterrey, Mexico (ProBox TV)

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