Ruslan Provodnikov will defend his WBO Junior Welterweight title against Chris Algieri on June 14 at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, in front of the American’s home fans.
It will be the Russian’s first defence of a title that he won convincingly in 10 rounds against Mike Alvarado in October last year. In his 25 fights overall he has won 23, 16 by way of knockout.
The 30-year-old is a heavy hitter and demonstrated that when he first truly announced himself to the world of boxing against the reigning WBO Welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, in a bout that was labeled as the 2013 Fight of the Year by ESPN.
Following that thrilling match-up Provodnikov is now considered to be one of the toughest fighters in the sport. He has a straightforward style but ensures that he is constantly applying pressure on his opponent, which can be quite overwhelming, as Bradley found out.
Despite giving the WBO Welterweight champion concussion and knocking him to the canvas in the final round, Provodnikov lost a close unanimous decision, but in turn gained a lot of respect for his toe-to-toe approach and incredible punching power.
After that fight he dropped down to Junior Welterweight where he tore apart Alvarado to claim the belt, knocking him down twice in the eighth round before the American opted not to return to the ring for the eleventh, and can you blame him?
Algieri has a huge task on his hands when he comes up against the Russian in June, but he did get a career best win over Emmanuel Taylor back in February that will have instilled him with great confidence.
The 30-year-old earned the title fight with wins over Taylor, Bayan Jargal and former world title challenger Mike Arnaoutis, but Provodnikov represents a large jump up in caliber of fighter.
Algieri (19-0, 8 knockouts) has fought his last eight bouts at the Paramount in Huntington, selling out the venue each time. He will hope that his large fan base will provide him again with an atmosphere that can inspire him to cause a shock on June 14.
The main problem that faces the American is how he handles Provodnikov’s power. Mauricio Herrera managed it when he defeated the Russian by a unanimous decision in 2011, but he has improved since then and is a more experienced fighter now.
Algieri is in the same mold as Herrera in that he is similarly skilled - he’s a boxer that lacks a big punch but can still cause a lot of damage. If Algieri can somehow handle Provodnikov’s power the way Herrera did, and the crowd get behind him, it could be a classic fight.
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