Pound4Pound, Boxing News

  Provodnikov Defeats Popoca
In A Good Main Event At Pechanga

By Barbara Pinnella
Photos: Ray Flores

Pechanga Hotel and Casino was the host of Friday Night Fights, and the evening started right off with the live ESPN televised bouts. There was a change in the players for the co-main event, as Ji Hoon Kim was unable to fight his scheduled dance partner, Marvin Quintero (22-3, 18 KO’s). Instead, Quintero was matched up against Juan Santiago (13-7-1, 8 KO’s) in this scheduled 10 round bout. This fight was in the Lightweight division.

What a strong first round for both fighters. Quintero was landing a lot of hard body shots, but Santiago found the head of his opponent more and more as the round went on. The second round was all Marvin. He just got stronger and stronger, and was hitting the head and body of Juan at will. Great round for Quintero.

Round three saw Quintero finish what he started. He got Santiago on the ropes and pounded away at him until the referee Thomas Taylor called the fight off at :12 of that round.

The main event found the undefeated Ivan Popoca (15-1-1, 10 KO’s) facing off against the tough Russian Ruslan Provodnikov (19-1, 13 KO’s). This was a scheduled 10 round contest in the Junior Welterweight division. With both of these men packing knockout power, on paper this one looked to be a good battle, and so it was.

Even though leather from both men found its mark, the first round was more of a time to feel out the opponent. Much more active second round. The feeling out process was gone, and both fighters were finding and connecting with their targets. A fairly even round for the two of them.

Round three, and another active one for the two fighters. Both men are waiting for their spot to land shots, and even though the both have a great knockout rate, it doesn’t yet seem as if they are only going for that one big punch. Same thing in the fourth. It seemed to be a calculated and well thought-out fight, but believe me, that does not mean boring.

The two traded punches in the middle of the ring for a lot of the fifth round, then with roughly 30 seconds remaining, Provodnikov just unleashed on Popoca, but Ivan was able to make it to the bell. Instead of being able to finish it off in the sixth however, Ruslan appeared to have punched himself out in the previous round, and threw very little punches. Popoca now came alive a bit.

Round seven was pretty even. Ruslan was back to fighting, albeit not as hard as he did in round five, but he was answering back and making many of Ivan’s punches slide off. In round eight an overhand right, one that he had been threatening to throw all night, dropped Popoca. Seconds later a flurry of punches made it necessary for the referee Pat Russell to stop the fight. That came at 2:16 of round eight. This was a really good, entertaining fight and a super main event..

In between the co-main event – because it ended so soon – and the main event we had Light Heavyweight action in which we saw Michael Gavronski (2-0-1, 2 KO’s) trying to keep his small win streak alive when he was put in the ring with Tyrell Hendrix (5-1-2, 1 KO). This fight was scheduled for four rounds.

A barrage of punches almost put Hendrix out of the ring in the first, but just seconds later Gavronski was dropped with a big right hand. A lot of back and forth action in rounds two and three, and while both fighters got in some good shots, they were also wild and careless.

In the fourth and final it was more of the same. This was an interesting fight on many different levels. While the fighters were often out of control, it cannot be said that they did not have heart. In the end it went to the scorecards, with one judge seeing it 40-36 for Hendrix, while the other two had it 38-38, and 38-38, making the fight a majority draw.

Derek Williams made his professional debut against Danny Gonzalez (2-1, 1 KO). This was to go a scheduled four rounds for these Heavyweights. Williams took a right hand that sent him to the canvas in the first round.

Round two seemed as if it took six minutes rather than three, as these two men totaling 532 pounds had their turn in the ring. Same with round three. Some action in the final round, as Williams tried to put Gonzalez down and out, but he did not have enough power, and quickly looked really tired. He got rejuvenated and came back again, but it was not to be. Danny was just too big. The judges’ cards read the same, 39-36, all for Gonzalez. Williams had to put a loss on his first pro fight. This was a really tough fight to place right after the great main event we had just seen.

The women took to the ring when Katerina De La Cruz (2-7-1) was joined by Sindi Amador (3-0). These two Flyweights were slated to go a scheduled four rounds. Amador, who looked so tiny next to De La Cruz (who mind you, wasn’t big) packed a huge punch. In all of the rounds she pounded on Katerina with ruthless aggression. Try as she might, De La Cruz could find no answer for the continued onslaught. Two judges saw it 40-36 and one other saw it 39-37, all for Amador.

Welterweights hit the ring in a fight scheduled for six, as Willie Walton (4-4, 4 KO’s) went up against Dashon Johnson (12-4-3, 4 KO’s). Johnson unloaded with both barrels on Walton to put him on the mat twice in succession, and the fight was waved off at 1:18 of the very first round. Walton wanted to continue, but was made to stay in his corner. Well, not really his corner. He was game, but did not seem to realize that while he was sitting down he had not made it to his corner; they brought his stool to a neutral corner.

In a Lightweight fight scheduled for four rounds, William Fisher (0-3) tried to win one against Danny Ruiz, who was making his professional debut. Good first round for the debuting Danny, who bloodied Fisher’s nose. In the second, Ruiz shot a quick little left at Fisher that dropped him. William came back strong as if that woke him up, and the two traded off from that point throughout the rest of the round.

Round three saw a good effort from both men, with the upper hand probably going to Ruiz. In the fourth Danny continued his aggression, and while William was able to lay his gloves on Ruiz, it was not enough. In the end Ruiz got the unanimous decision, with the scores being 39-36, 40-35, and 38-37, making his pro debut a winning one, and giving Fisher his third loss.

In four round Heavyweight action to close the night, we saw Dave Johnson (5-21-8) going up against Garret Simon (5-0-1, 4 KO’s). Just how one-sided did this fight look? Yep, appeared to be a cakewalk for Simon. Well, on paper maybe, but Johnson was so much bigger that once they got in the ring it seemed to be a greater task than one might have thought. Dave literally threw his weight around in round one.

This continued throughout the other rounds. He seemed to rather body slam Simon than box. That record that looked so good on paper was way outmatched when the two were in the ring. Out of sheer size alone Johnson controlled the fight, as it was almost impossible for Simon to get in any shots. It went to the scorecards and the judges saw it 40-36 for Simon, while the other two had it 38-38, and 38-38, for a majority draw, the second of the evening.

The event was a good one, with some young fighters showcasing their wares in good style, and a really good main event that showed super efforts by both Provodnikov and Popoca.

Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,


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