The vacant WBC junior welterweight title fight between Regis Prograis and Jose Zepeda was won by upstart promotion company MarvNation on Tuesday with a $2.4 million pledge.
TGB Promotions on behalf of PBC was the other $1.2 million bidder. The fighters will split the $2.4 million equally.
“We plan to host this event within the next 90 days; Las Vegas and Atlantic City are potential locations,” Marvin Rodriguez, CEO and founder of Southern California-based MarvNation Promotions, told ESPN. “…Our intention has always been to do great things in the sport of boxing and this is the first of many big moves we plan to make.”
No dissemination plan has yet been finalized.
Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) has scored knockouts of three fringe contenders since a majority loss to Josh Taylor in a 2019 unification bout. Fighting in Houston, the former champion is the junior welterweight ESPN’s No. 4; Zepeda is No. 5. They will be in contention for one of three titles vacated by Taylor as he pursues a Nov. 26 rematch with Jack Catterall.
“I’m more than happy to try for the title again,” Prograis, 33, told ESPN last month. “My goal was to become double world champion and it couldn’t have been better. I want to establish myself as the best 140[-pound boxer] again on the planet.
“And on top of that, Zepeda is a real killer in the 140-pound division, so this is a huge fight, not just for the division but for boxing.”
Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs) is winless in two previous title challengers, but both losses were far from clean cut. A 2015 lightweight title fight against Terry Flanagan ended when he dislocated his left shoulder and retired to his stool after the second round.
In 2019, Zepeda dropped a controversial majority decision to Jose Ramirez in a junior welterweight title fight.
Since the setback, Zepeda has impressed with a decisive win over Jose Pedraza, and most notably, a brutal knockout of Ivan Baranchyk in ESPN’s 2020 Fight of the Year. The 33-year-old from Southern California scored a first-round TKO of Josue Vargas in October.
“I’ve been waiting a very long time to fight for the WBC title,” Zepeda told ESPN last month. “…I’m glad Prograis wants this fight, I know he’s a really good fighter and I’m sure we’ll give our fans a great fight. I can’t wait to become the next WBC champion.”
Ramirez, a former unified champion, will be the mandatory winner’s challenger after letting the title rematch with Zepeda slip by to focus on his October wedding.