Provodnikov Defeats Popoca
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
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
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
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
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
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,