ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will originate from Temecula, Calif. featuring junior welterweight’s Ruslan Provodnikov (18-1, 12 KO’s, WBO #14) and undefeated Ivan “El Marro” Popoca (15-0-1, 10 KO’s) in the 10-round main event April 15, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside at the Pechanga Resort Casino, describing the action. ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael will join studio host Brian Kenny throughout Friday’s telecast to discuss all the latest boxing news and highlights.
After his 1st loss against Mauricio Herrera on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights in January, Provodnikov rebounded with a third-round TKO in February.
After the fight on ESPN2, ESPN.com’s Rafael wrote, “We had our first upset of the year as Herrera took the competitive decision against Provodnikov, who was widely considered a top prospect. This is, by far, the biggest win of Herrera’s career and he earned it in a tough, grinding battle in which both men went past the 10th round for the first time and showed a lot of heart. Provodnikov did what he always does, which is to bull forward, be aggressive and work the body. He also landed lots of right hands. They both showed they wanted it badly with the way they were fighting and the outcome looked like it was in doubt. Provodnikov turned Herrera’s left eye black and blue in the third round and seemed to be inching ahead, but Herrera never gave in. When the fight was over, both of their faces were a mess – even though Herrera was smiling because of the victory. This was a really good fight and a nice way to kick off the FNF season.”
Mexico native and Chicago resident Popoca, coming off a November 8-round unanimous decision against Martin Tucker, is taking a step up in class against Provodnikov. Popoca said of Friday’s fight, “I’m an aggressive fighter, always coming forward. It’s going to be a real interesting fight with this guy, because we got the same style – going forward, always punching, and always slugging it out. I’ve seen him fight. He’s a real impressive fighter, a real aggressive fighter. I can’t wait for the fight. I think it’s going to be a great show.”