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Provodnikov KOs Torres, Kim outslugs Amidu

by Doug Fischer

Junior welterweight standout Ruslan Provodnikov won his fourth consecutive fight since suffering the first loss of his career one year ago by knocking out David Torres in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round Friday Night Fights main event from Airway Heights, Wash.

Provodnikov (21-1, 14 knockouts) dropped Torres in the first round and twice in the sixth before referee Robert Howard stepped in to halt the one-sided bout at 2:53 of the round.

Between knockdowns, the 28-year-old Russian slugger controlled the bout with steady pressure, a heavy jab and well-timed right hands that did most of the damage to Torres (21-3-2, 13 KOs), who lacked the size and strength to match Provodnikov’s power and didn’t have the technique to neutralize the fringe contender’s aggression.

Not that Provodnikov’s skill was anything to write home about. His punching technique was sharper than usual and he managed to move his head more than he did when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Mauricio Herrera last January, but for the most part he beat Torres the same way he normally wins fights – with a high-volume offense and lots of brute strength.

Provodnikov, who trained with Freddie Roach for Friday’s fight, threw 100 punches in the first round, connecting with with 40 (compared to only 7 connects from Torres), according to CompuBox.

However, the 33-year-old Washington native survived the first-round onslaught, occasionally landed his right over the next four rounds, and had a moment early in the sixth when he backed Provodnikov to the ropes and landed a good combination. However, that “moment” only served as a wake-up call for Provodnikov, who stepped on the gas pedal and overwhlemed Torres before the end of the round.

Provodnikov, who only had three weeks with Roach, wants to return to the Wild Card Boxing Club as soon as possible where he hopes more time with the master trainer will result in more improvements.  

In the opening bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, hardnosed former lightweight title challenger Ji-Hoon Kim pounded out a 10-round unanimous decision over equally tough Yakubu Amidu in a fast-paced, crowd-pleasing barnburner.

Kim (23-7, 18 knockouts), a 25-year-old slugger from South Korea, received a game challenge from Amidu but his higher workrate, combination punching and better punch variety was the difference in the entertaining scrap.

Kim, who stunned Amidu (20-3-1, 18 KOs) with straight right hands in rounds three and four, won by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. However, the 27-year-old Los Angeles-based Ghanaian had a strong second round and bounced back from being rocked in the fourth by outslugging Kim in rounds five and six.

The lightweights traded non-stop punches down the stretch of the fight, but Kim was the busier and more accurate puncher of the two.

It was a much-needed victory for Kim, who was only one fight removed from back-to-back losses to Lenny Zappavigna, who stopped him in one round last October, and to Miguel Vazquez, who outclassed him in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBF title last August.

Amidu had won four consecutive bouts since suffering a seventh-round TKO to former 130-pound beltholder Ricky Burns.


ESPN FNF - Provodnikov stops Torres in 6th Rd

By Paul Strauss: No surprise tonight at the Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights. Wash. Facebook fans knew what was going to happen, but after the stocky Russian Ruslan Provodnikov's 20-1-0 (13KOs) first round knockdown of over matched David Torres 22-2-2 (13KOs) they became impatient for the inevitable. They knew what the punchline was going to be and they wanted it delivered They weren't happy it took six rounds to accomplish.

Color analyst Teddy Atlas speculated that Ruslan, a light welterweight, wanted the work, knowing he good take Torres out whenever he wanted. Later, Teddy revised his opinion saying maybe Ruslan wasn't in tip top shape, because he was hampered in training camp by exercising needed care in healing of bad cuts he sustained in his previous fight. The point being it prevented Ruslan from getting needed sparring?

Regardless, it did seem Ruslan was carrying Torres, especially after having him down in the first round, and then pummeling him after he beat the count. It looked as though the fight was going to be a disappointing first round stoppage. But, Torres didn't crumble right away, so Ruslan backed off and seemed content with working a bit.

As the fight progress, the game Torres started lumping up a bit, and developed a small cut under his right eye. But, he was also getting through with some shots of his own, especially a right cross and right uppercut. Even though his punches didn't pack much power, Ruslan's face started to redden by the fifth round, especially above his left eye. That might have prompted the powerful Russian to step things up and end the risk of reopening the old cut.

It was thought Ruslan might show a improvement in his defensive skills, because he is now being trained by Freddie Roach. But, Freddie wasn't able to be in Ruslan's corner this night. Eric Brown filled in for him. Ruslan apparently hasn't spent enough time yet with Freddie, because his defense is still lacking. He continually keeps his hands low, and gets tagged by punches that shouldn't be landing. However, in fairness to Ruslan, he probably wasn't worried much, as he knew Torres had a serious lack of power. It was pretty obvious, Ruslan kept his hand low trying to get leads from Torres, so he could send over a big counter.

Ruslan's big punch was the right hand over Torres low left, or slow jab. That's the punch that put Torres down in the first, and that's what ended the fight in the sixth. In the sixth, Ruslan landed a one two, with the big right landing flush. Torres showed heart and managed to beat the count, but Ruslan swarmed all over him with lot's of shots banging into David's raised gloves. It didn't take long for some of those punches to start getting through, and sure enough another big right hand blasted through cleanly, putting Torres down again. Referee Robert Howard mercifully stepped in and told David Torres to stay down, as he signaled an end to the fight at 2:53 seconds of the sixth round.

In between rounds, the camera would switch back to the studio and Bernardo Osuna, but tonight that was pretty bland as well. Osuna had a short interview with Andre Berto concerning his rematch with Vicious Victor Ortiz. Nothing too dramatic coming out of the interview. Berto promises to be in top shape, and explained he has addressed his past problem with anemia. He says his team has been working on ways to combat the trouble he had with Ortiz' right, but wouldn't say what exactly he will be doing.

Osuna also talked with ESPN reporter Dan Rafael about the rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson. Both Dan and Teddy think the fight will be a yawner, but at least the promoters realized this rematch lacks the necessary interest to warrant being a PPV. The fight will also be in Atlantic City, closer to the backyards of both fighters.

The undercard featured lightweights Yakubu "Black Mamba" Amidu 20-2-1 (18 KOs) vs, Ji-Hoon "Volcano" Kim. The fight didn't include much defense, but it did have a lot of action, mostly from the Kim side. Kim is noted for taking a lot of punches to land his own shots, but it was Amidu who sustained a cut above his left eye. Amidu is co-managed by actor Vince Vaughn. According to announcer Joe Tessitore, Vaughn was invited to sit at ringside, but he might have had a premonition, and begged off saying he wanted to watch his fighter without distraction.

Amidu put up a good fight, and tried to take advantage of counter punch opportunities. But, he couldn't land with enough power to dissuade Kim from staying on the attack. Initially he used pretty good head movement, but he tired as the fight progressed. He also depended too much on trying to avoid Kim's shots by leaning back, to what he thought was a safe distance. It wasn't. He hasn't learned to use his feet (movement) effectively, not only to get out of range, but to change angles.

Kim wings his punches, while Amidu threw better combinations, just not enough of them or with enough power. On the inside, Kim used his left elbow to gain enough space to punch. He was warned at least three times over the course of the fight. He was able to rough up Amidu on the inside and keep him from getting the breaks he needed. Amidu was hurt several times, but managed to muster up enough energy to stay the course. Kim came away with a hard 10 earned 10 Round UD.





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