Zorrilla interrupted family holiday to prioritise fight with Prograis

Danielito Zorrilla was on holiday when the call came for him to challenge Regis Prograis for the WBC super lightweight title.

The Puerto Rican, 29, fights Prograis on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center on the occasion of Prograis’ first world title fight in his home city of New Orleans.

Saturday’s fight also represents the 34-year-old Prograis’ first in his home city for five years, and first since he agreed promotional terms with Matchroom.

Prograis had been due to fight Liam Paro of Australia until an Achilles injury forced Paro’s withdrawal with a month until they had been due to fight, and it was then that Zorrilla, visiting his parents in Boston, was presented with the opportunity to transform his career.

“When I heard the news I was on holiday, but as a boxer I always keep myself in shape,” he told ProBox TV. “I only need a month. A month is all I need to beat Regis Prograis. 

“I was visiting my parents in Boston. It had been a long time since I’d seen them. I live in [Toa Baja] Puerto Rico.

“Any boxer, to keep in shape, you’ll be running and training. Not to the intensity that you would be if you had a fight coming up. But as soon as we got the proposal – the opportunity – we started to modify our training to be ready and now we’re ready for Saturday.

“The modifications vary depending on the boxer you’re facing. On this occasion, I’m facing a southpaw, so it’s about getting the sparring you need; looking for a lot of southpaws. Looking at your opponent, based on what his strengths and weaknesses are.

“I think it’d be between him and [Arnold] Barbosa [Jr as my best opponent]. They’re both great fighters. He’d be one of the best I’ve faced. He’s got the world title, but on Saturday he won’t have that world title, so on Saturday people will decide how good he is.”

Zorrilla is promoted by the great Miguel Cotto. As well as his compatriots Cotto and Felix Trinidad, he particularly admires Roy Jones Jr and Andre Ward. Jones Jr, incidentally, was involved in the last world-title fight staged in New Orleans, when in September 2000 he defeated Eric Harding in a fight for the IBF, WBA and WBC light-heavyweight titles.

“It motivates me a great deal to have these fighters from Puerto Rico,” Zorrilla continued. “[Felix] Trinidad was a great champion; [Miguel] Cotto another wonderful champion; a legend of the sport, and I’m really grateful that I belong to this boxing community.

“I always get well wishes from my promoter – Miguel Cotto always wishes me well for fights.”