Boxing Insider Interview with Joel Diaz
By: Francisco Martinez
After several fights under the guidance of multiple time trainer of the year Freddie Roach, Ruslan Provodnikov felt change was needed. Here’s where 2016 National Boxing Hall Of Fame’s Trainer Of The Year Joel Diaz comes into play. After a divorce like separation between Diaz & Timothy Bradley Jr. it wasn’t long before A level fighters looked to Diaz for help. From Ruslan Provodnikov to a short stint with Victor Ortiz. Joel Diaz is considered a teacher of boxing with a no nonsense approach towards training camp while Looking to make your weakness your strength.
Ruslan Provodnikov admits his defense is his biggest weakness and with Joel Diaz in his corner Provodnikov feels he has greatly improved that flaw in his game “technically and boxing wise I’ve added a lot of different things. Most importantly I’ve increased my defensive skills and that’s going to show in this fight. I’m positive of that…”
BoxingInsider asked Joel Diaz about the improvements he feels Provodnikov has made since being apart of his stable and Diaz feels the same way Provodnikov does regarding his defensive flaws “I don’t just focus on one thing. I know he’s just a fighter who wants to hear the bell and go. If (he) doesn’t listen you gotta get him used to it by repeatedly doing it over and over until he clicks on his own and that’s what he’s been doing. His progress has been great. In his first camp with me every time he sparred he came out with his face all bruised, look at him now, there’s no bruises. Which means he’s avoiding a lot of punches. His defense is a lot better now. That’s one of the main concerns with him. If he can through a fight without taking severe damage to his face he can perform better because once a fighter is cut and bleeding, obviously they’re thinking (about it) and they lose focus…”
BoxingInsider: These are similar style of fighters, what can we expect? When he fought (Lucas) Matthysse we were suppose to see that fight of the year but as we saw Matthysse resorted to boxing. Is he ready if (John) Molina does that, if he decides to box instead of accommodate the brawling?
Joel Diaz: One thing that I do in my camp with my fighters is, I prepare for the best and the worse. I prepare for any change. I don’t know if you’ve seen it in some of my fighters, I always make adjustments every round. Everything comes from the gym. I put everything in my gym. In the workout we do. I have fighters that are gonna come in and brawl with him. I have fighters that are gonna box with him. Even when I do mitts with him I move around on him and I teach him how to cut the corners, how to put them in a corner. How to cut the ring. As well against brawlers, how to give them angles. I put everything together. When we go to the fight he has gone through everything. He’s seen it all in the gym so he’s ready
In 2013 Joel Diaz faced off against Ruslan Provodnikov as he was in Timothy Bradley’s corner. From the first bell the fans would witness a fight that would go on to be awarded Fight Of The Year by Boxing Writers Association Of America & Ring magazine, The Bible Of Boxing. A long awaited and anticipated rematch between Bradley & Provodnikov is something the fans are demanding. However this time around given the rematch happens we would see Joel Diaz on the opposite corner facing a fighter he trained for over a decade and shared more than tears of joy & sorrow alongside him.
Joel Diaz initial reaction when asked how a rematch would play out between Bradley & Provodnikov with him in Provodnikov’s corner he quickly opened up emotionally about potentially facing Timothy Bradley one day.
“That’s a tough question for me, you know. Honestly, we know what happened in the first fight and me working the corner is my job, it’s my work and if I have to work against Bradley it would really bother me because I like the guy. I like Bradley, he’s a good guy. He’s one of the most humble fighters I’ve ever had in my career as trainer. Having to put punishment on Bradley and me being the master mind of the plan to beat Bradley in a fight like that especially doing damage and watching Bradley get hurt by a fighter like this, it would really hurt me. Honestly, I mean it from the heart. Bradley being a good guy, his kids, you know, I wouldn’t want to see it. If a fight like that happens I know I would lose sleep. I stress over every fight and just being in the opposite corner against a fighter that I spend more than 10 years with and we lived good times, bad times together it would really bother me. It would be something that I wouldn’t know how to handle”
This June 11th in New York the Siberian Rocky is set to face John Molina Jr. in a fight that doesn’t need much be said or written about it’s self explanatory. What hangs in the balance is what everyone has their eyes on. If Ruslan Provodnikov gets past John Molina Jr. there’s a big possibility we could see a Timothy Bradley rematch. One the fans have been longing for.
So tune in this June 11th live in New York on Showtime to witness one is a sure shot for candidate of Fight Of The Year. Use #ProvodnikovMolina on social media to follow all coverage on fight.