Jose Zepeda walks to the ring earlier than his battle in opposition to Josue Vargas on October 30, 2021, in New York Metropolis. (Picture by Mikey Williams/Prime Rank Inc through Getty Pictures)
Jose Zepeda has overcome obstacles thrown at him all through his profession, out and in of the ring. That was the case on Monday, when the automotive he was touring in on his technique to an open exercise crashed. The automotive was a complete loss, however Zepeda was capable of stroll away with no accidents.
“Sorry about that,” Zepeda replied in a tweet to Marcos Villegas of Struggle Hub TV. “[I] had a bit of accident however I’m good. We’re 100% able to go! And staying focus.”
Within the thoughts of Zepeda, a automotive accident might not be as unhealthy because the struggle he had in opposition to Ivan Baranchyk or as overwhelming because the bruising and aggressive fashion of Jose Ramirez.
In his objective to develop into a world titleholder, Zepeda may even have to beat the impediment that’s Regis Prograis Saturday night time at Dignity Well being Sports activities Park in Carson, California. The 12-round bout, for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title, will stream reside on Fite.television Pay-Per-View ($59.99, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Zepeda weighed in at 139.4 kilos. Prograis weighed 139 kilos.
The conflict between Zepeda and Prograis is anticipated to be a firefight between two of the strongest power-punching fighters at 140 kilos. The battle is also a sexy matchup between two fighters ranked within the high 5 by The Ring. Prograis and Zepeda are ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively.
Zepeda (35-2, 27 knockouts), who at the moment resides within the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente, has not fought since a first-round knockout victory over Josue Vargas on October 30 of final 12 months. Zepeda has received his final 5 bouts since a very shut majority determination loss to Ramirez in February 2019.
Saturday is not going to be Zepeda’s first try at a world title belt. In July 2015, Zepeda challenged then-unbeaten WBO light-weight titleholder Terry Flanagan. Throughout the second spherical of the battle, the southpaw Zepeda suffered a freak damage when his left shoulder dislocated whereas throwing a punch. He needed to give up on his stool after the spherical ended.
A transfer as much as 140 kilos, overcoming 4 knockdowns in opposition to Baranchyk two years in the past, and positioning himself to a world title battle was fairly the journey for Zepeda.
Jose Zepeda-Ivan Baranchyk is The Ring’s 2020 Struggle of the 12 months
“I’ve been via so much,” Zepeda instructed The Ring Wednesday night time. “I’m prepared mentally and bodily. Expertise-wise, I consider going via that ‘Struggle of the 12 months’ with Baranchyk and the shut battle in opposition to Ramirez would be the distinction.”
The 33-year-old has at all times possessed a strong skill-set to go with his energy. What he admits he lacked was confidence and a robust psychological state to hold him via fights. That was evident in his battle in opposition to Carlos Diaz in June 2018, when Zepeda was dropped within the fourth spherical. Zepeda was capable of overcome the knockdown to cease Diaz within the fifth.
Zepeda’s confidence is now at an all-time excessive and he’s in a unique mind-set in comparison with the place he was a number of years in the past.
“I felt I wasn’t given the credit score I deserved,” stated Zepeda, who’s educated by brother Rene and managed by Rick Mirigian. “It managed me. I saved considering that perhaps I used to be an underdog and I used to be believing what individuals thought of me. I used to be the underdog in opposition to Baranchyk, (Jose) Pedraza and Vargas. I’m completely effective with being the underdog in opposition to Regis. The distinction now could be that I’ve far more confidence in myself and what I’m able to doing.
“I’ve had this dream of being a world champion since I used to be a child. Preventing [as an unbeaten prospect on club shows] on the Quiet Cannon (in close by Montebello), I wasn’t certain if I used to be going to proceed on that path. I solely had 16 newbie fights. I doubted myself in opposition to unbeaten fighters, Olympians or these amateurs with 200 fights. By no means did I believe I’d be within the place I’m now the place I’ve devoted 100% as a fighter and [am] one win away from a world title belt.”
Standing in the way in which of that title is Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs), who has already held a world title at 140 kilos. Additionally 33, Prograis has received his final three bouts, all by knockout, since shedding to Ring Journal champion Josh Taylor in October 2019.
Regis Prograis: “I’ve been coaching for Zepeda for 3 years”
It’s a troublesome process to defeat Prograis, however Zepeda believes he has the capabilities to drag off the victory.
“Regis is a superb man, and he has coronary heart,” stated Zepeda, who’s promoted by Prime Rank. “The Taylor battle was very shut. Taylor fought Ramirez in an in depth battle. I don’t assume he has fought somebody that may field like me. I’ve fought the higher opposition. I do know he hasn’t been as energetic as I’ve been or [faced] the [kind of] opponents I’ve confronted.
“A number of the issues I went via in my profession made me a greater fighter. I realized from the Ramirez battle [that if] I had been ready higher and was in a greater psychological state, I might’ve received outright. I used to be beating him for six straight rounds and he was slowing down. I’ve confirmed in my final couple of fights how sturdy I’m, mentally and bodily.”
Zepeda would be the underdog going into the Prograis battle, however he’s not the identical man who confronted Flanagan and Ramirez.
“Regis goes to face one of the best model of Jose Zepeda on November 26. The boxing world will see one of the best model of me. I’ve proven what I’ve gone via and what I completed within the final couple of years.
“I can do greater than take punishment. I may give it proper again. I consider my time is now and I will likely be victorious on November 26.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has lined boxing in Southern California and overseas since 2000. Francisco additionally covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He might be reached at [email protected]