Regis Prograis pulls out of WBSS!

By Scott Shaffer

10/08/2019

Regis Prograis pulls out of WBSS!

WBA junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis (pictured) is withdrawing from the WBSS, effective immediately. Prograis was slated appear in the WBSS finals to unify vs. IBF champion Josh Taylor of Scotland. Prograis and his promoter DiBella Entertainment have filed a federal lawsuit in New Jersey against Comosa AG, the promoter of the World Boxing Super Series tournament.  According to the complaint, Comosa has repeatedly missed deadlines and failed to schedule the WBSS finals match between Prograis and IBF champion Josh Taylor. Prograis says the WBSS final was required to take place by October 7, 2019 and that Comosa will not be able to meet the deadline. Through the lawsuit, Prorgrais also seems to be resisting a September 28th fight date on the grounds that he needs more time to train. The lawsuit alleges that Comosa violated its written agreement with DiBella Entertainment to deposit Prograis' purse for the finals into an escrow account. Through the lawsuit, Prograis is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court stating he is free and clear of further responsibilities to fight under the WBSS.  
 
The key portions of the lawsuit read as follows:
 
"This [lawsuit] arises out of the wrongful conduct and broken promises of Comosa, a European sporting company that runs a tournament known as the World Boxing Super Series (“WBSS”), in promising the boxing world that it could deliver viable tournaments featuring world champions and top contenders fighting top quality bouts for millions of dollars in purses. Instead, Comosa has left a trail of late payments and scheduling delays that, upon information and belief, have put many of boxing’s top promoters and boxers in limbo due to its financial problems and breach of contractual duties.
 
"On information and belief, Comosa was having funding problems to the point where they were reaching out to other promoters in hopes of getting funding to set make the WBSS finals happen. To date, in spite of the Tournament Agreement stating that the finals will take place 'in May, June or July 2019,' not one of the [finals in the] three weight classes in Season II of the WBSS has taken place."
 
A later escrow agreement stated that, "the WBSS final bout shall take place no later than October 7, 2019 as a material term of Prograis’ continued participation in the WBSS under the Tournament Agreement." 
 
DiBella demanded that Comosa comply with the pre-payment or escrow requirements by depositing the following funds with a neutral party: "$500,000 on or before August 1, 2019 (i.e., 65 days before the final bout), $500,000 on or before August 12, 2019 (i.e., 54 days before the final bout), [and] $1,000,000 on or before September 4, 2019 (i.e., 31 days before the final bout)."
 
The lawsuit continued:
 
"August 5th came and went with no offer [from Comosa]. Only on August 6th, well after the date DBE specified for the first payment, [Comosa] e-mailed a last minute offer stating, 'In order to save time once Comosa has determined the place and date of the Final, please find attached the contract drafts as proposed by Comosa. Please have a look from your end, what is acceptable to you, and where you would make a counter proposal.'
 
"The proposed escrow arrangements confirmed that Comosa had no intention to comply with their obligations under the Escrow Agreement as the terms of the new proposal were clearly not the same nor substantially similar to the escrow for the semifinal bout. Comosa offered the following [escrow deposits]: $350,000 on or before August 16, 2019 (50 days before the final bout), $350,000 on or before August 30, 2019 (36 days before the final bout), [and] $1,300,000 on or before September 6, 2019 (29 days before the final bout).
 
"Further, the offer [from Comosa] asked for another two weeks to finalize, not just the escrow payments, but also the site and date of the final. On information and belief, Comosa made this
offer with the knowledge that their American broadcast partner, DAZN, a sports streaming service, had not approved of the October 5th date. Comosa’s offer was merely a stalling tactic as
they desperately tried to find alternate financing to pay for the bout and front the escrow money.
 
"Two days later, on August 8, 2019, Comosa forwarded another set of draft escrow and bout agreements. The proposed date of the final was now moved up to September 28th... Moving the date of the final one week closer also gave Prograis even less time to train for final. The fighters in the WBSS are required to travel to the site of the bout at least one week in advance of the fight in order to do publicity. Even if Prograis were to start his training camp immediately on August 8th, he would only have a little over six weeks to be in prime condition.
 
"Comosa’s continuing failure to perform [is]  holding [Prograis'] career hostage and keeping him in limbo. Put simply, Prograis is being kept off of a very lucrative boxing market by Comosa, which upon information and belief, cannot finance the rest of its tournament and is in violation of its obligations under the Escrow Agreement...
 
[Therefore,] DBE and Prograis seek a declaration that Comosa has not complied with the Escrow Agreement and cannot [do so]. Further, Plaintiffs seek a declaration that Prograis is free and clear of his obligations to Comosa and can pursue his career outside of the WBSS immediately."

Originally reported at 5:45 on Aug. 9th.  UPDATE:   In a subsequent press release, DiBella stated, "today's action is the result of a long and repeated pattern of behavior by [WBSS organizer] Comosa that includes late payments, scheduling delays, bad faith representations, missed deadlines, and broken promises. There is no one more disappointed by this turn of events than Regis Prograis, who has expressed his desire to unify the [140-pound] division on a number of occasions. Comosa was provided every opportunity to see the WBSS to conclusion but it failed at every turn to meet its obligations to the contracted fighters... This action was commenced only after Prograis and DBE determined, as a result of Comosa's conduct, that his participation in this venture was no longer possible."