Provotnikov scores 8th Rd TKO over Popoca
By Paul Strauss: Friday Nights Fights proved to be an exciting night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, CA. The main event feature the once defeated Ruslan Provotnikov (19-1-0) against undefeated Ivan Popoca (15-0-1) in a light welterweight battle. Provotnikov was trying to continue on the winning road after suffering his only loss, a UD against Mauricio Herrera, back in January of this year. Since then he racked up two victories. Athough Popoca was undefeated, he hadn't faced the same level of opposition as Ruslan, and there wasn't much question he didn't have Ruslan's power.
Article posted on 16.04.2011
The fight started with Popoca showing decent speed and combination punching. Provotnikov landed some good left hooks to the body. In between rounds Buddy McGirt, Ruslan's new trainer, advised him to quit looking for the one big punch, and to go to the body more. The punch numbers were in Popoca's favor, but neither fighter caused any real damage. The second round was much like the first. Provotnikov still wasn't going to the body often enough, and wasn't active enough. Popoca landed a pretty good left hook to end the round.
Throughout the first two rounds, Popoca was doing a good job bending his legs to get under Ruslan's counters, which also kept Ruslan out of sinc a bit. In the third round, that seemed to change. Ruslan speeded things up and came alive. He started to throw more than one or two shots at a time, working in some multiple punch combinations. He took the round.
In the fourth round, Ruslan came out fast and immediately backed up Popoca, who was firing back, but he just didn't seem to have enough power in his shots to deter Ruslan much. Referee Pat Russell did step in once to issue a quick warning to Ruslan to keep his punches up. Obviously Ruslan was starting to go to the body more.
Unfortunately for Popoca, he was starting to become too predictable. He would repeat ......jab, jab and then a right hand. Ruslan was starting to time it, and began to counter more effectively. To make matters worse for Popoca, he stopped bending his knees to get under the counters. Therefore, he was getting tagged more. In the fifth round, Provotnikov landed several hard shots, at least three good left hooks, and Popoca instinctively switched to southpaw in hopes of staving off the attack. It didn't work, and Referee Russell stepped in close to carefully check on Popoca's condition.
In the sixth round, Provotnikov was apparently punched out, because he did not press the action against his hurt opponet. He gave Popoca a chance to shake the cobwebs out. Popoca used the break to his advantage and got back into his light punch combination mode and won the round. In the seventh, Provotnikov got his wind and energy back and came out strong, pressing Popoca back again. In this round, he landed a couple of good right hands.
In the eighth round, Provotnikov landed some good body shots. Predictably, Popoca tried to pumped out a few jabs, but again he failed to move his head or get under the inevitable counters, and came they did in the form of a very nice, hard one-two punch combination. The right put Popoca down. He beat the count, and upon rising, he immediately reverted to the southpaw stance again. This time Provotnikov swooped down on him, and fired off a flurry of power shots, most of which bounced off of Popoca's head. Referee Pat Russell jumped in and called a halt to the beat up. Officially, it was TKO at 2:16 of Round 8.
The undercard included at least a couple of wild fights. Marvin Quintero (21-3-0) took on Juan Santiago (13-6-1) in a ten round lightweight bout. Santiago took the fight on only three or four days notice, but he came ready to fight. From the start, it appeared the much shorter Quintero had a speed and skill advantage, but Santiago was very game and dangerous. Quintero employed good side-to-side movement, and caught Santiago early with a few good right hooks from the southpaw stance. However, Santiago managed to land a good left hook of his own to close things out. There was no "feeling out" period in this fight.
In the second round, Santiago was waiting too much. He wasn't being first, and wasn't countering much. He put up the "ear muffs" too much and was getting tagged quite a bit, because he wasn't moving his head. Score the first two rounds for Quintero.
At the beginning of the third round, Santiago immediately walked right into a hard left. Quintero realized Santiago was badly hurt, so he jumped all over him, driving him back into the ropes and firing off bunches of punches, many of which were getting through to Santiago's head. Referee Tom Taylor moved in quickly with his back to Quintero, and grabbed Santiago to protect him from further damage. It might have been a quick stoppage, but Santiago was definitely taking a lot of punishment. The official time of the TKO was 12 seconds of the third round.
One other exciting bout was between light heavyweights Tyrell Hendrix (5-1-2) and Mike Gavronski (2-0-0). These battlers exchanged knockdowns in the first round........first Hendrix and then Gavronski. They both were the result of right hands. Gavronski went right hand nuts after scoring his quick down, and as a result left himself open. He paid for it. Hendrix had an edge in speed, moved better and also punched straighter. But, Gavronski lacked nothing when it came to fighting spirit. He certainly is willing. The whole fight was pretty much offense. It wasn't pretty, but it was exciting. Before the fourth and final bell was sounded in this battle, both men were bleeding and weary. Hendrix had cuts over both eyes, and Gavronski sustained a cut over the right eye. Punches or head clashes? Who knew, because there was so much contact. One judge had the fight scored as a shutout for Hendrix. The other two saw it as a draw, so that's the way it ended up......a majority draw, with about ten rounds of damage to each guy!
In other action:
Marvin Quintero TKO 3 Juan Santiago
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