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Ruslan Provodnikov Stops Jose Luis Castillo; Mickey Rourke Wins Ring Return

by Johnny Walker

Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov made his return to the ring in Moscow today, the junior welterweight’s first appearance since losing a controversial split decision to American Chris Algieri, who was made to look ridiculously outclassed and overmatched versus a disdainful Manny Pacquiao in a pay-per-view event last Saturday.

Certainly, with Provodnikov’s “all guns blazing” style, a Pac-Man versus Provo battle would have provided far more fireworks for those shelling out for a PPV fight.

A well past his prime Castillo put up some resistance for a few rounds today, and arguably could have edged the second, but mostly it was Provodnikov stalking and looking for his moments to attack. Provodnikov used his jab to set things up in round one, and by round three he ended with a big flourish of power shots.

By round four, Ruslan was repeatedly landing left hook bombs to the right side of Castillo’s reddening face, and it seemed the fight wouldn’t go much longer.

It didn’t.

Round five saw Provodnikov knock Castillo down with a flurry of power shots, but Castillo got up just before the count of ten. Provodnikov was determined to end matters, and another flurry that included a left hook that caught Castillo on the top of the head sent him down again, and this time the fighter motioned to the referee that he’d had enough.

Ruslan Provodnikov thus moved to 24-3-0 with 17 KOs. Castillo dropped to 66-13-1, with 57 KOs, and at age 40 perhaps should consider hanging up his gloves.

In other bouts of interest, American actor/boxer Mickey Rourke made a largely symbolic boxing “comeback” at age 62, in a non-sanctioned exhibition that very much pleased the Russian crowd. Rourke landed a few shots against gun-shy opponent Elliot Seymour and was gifted a second round KO when his opponent refused to get up after taking a couple of body shots.

Rourke had said before the fight that he has been in a bad place in his life and that getting back to boxing provided a refuge for him. So good luck to you, Mickey.

Also, former big-mouthed cruiserweight king Juan Carlos Gomez, who had promised to “destroy” Vitali Klitschko when he moved to heavyweight, only to get destroyed instead (as most of Vitali’s opponents did), proved to be another candidate for retirement when he was beaten badly by the aptly named cruiserweight Dmitry “The Russian Hammer” Kudryashov, who moved to 16-0, with every win by KO.

Gomez was coming off a six-fight winning streak, but was no match at all for The Russian Hammer, who blasted him out at 0:22 of round one: a devastating left hook followed by a straight right and Gomez was done.

Additionally, muscular Russian-born cruiserweight Rakhim Chakhkiev blew Jackson Junior away with a 4th round TKO.

In round four, Chakhkiev knocked down Junior, but the Brazilian got up and was given another chance. However, under heavy fire from Chakhkiev, and with nothing coming back as Junior was being pounded, the referee mercifully called the fight off.

With the win, Chakhkiev moves to 21-1, with 16 KOs.

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