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Welterweight Champ Tim Bradley To Defend Title Against Russian Star Provodnikov

On March 16 from the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) will put his title and unblemished record on the line as he takes on Russian star and contender Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO).

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Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

This will be Bradley’s first appearance of the New Year, and his first fight since his controversial win over Manny Pacquiao last summer. In the 12-round bout Bradley was awarded the split decision victory which raised countless conversations around the boxing world; critics argued—and still argue—that Bradley shouldn’t have retained the belt that night, and therefore isn’t the rightful WBO champion. On Saturday, March 16 he has the chance to go out and fight in front of his huge fan base and disprove any of the critics’ claims.

“I am so happy and inspired to be fighting in the Los Angeles area in front of my home state fans,” said Bradley. “There is nothing more exhilarating than defending your title for the first time. March 16 will be the first step in doing what I did as the junior welterweight champion, cleaning house.”

Since defeating Kendall Holt and capturing the WBO light welterweight belt in 2009 Bradley has gone 5-0 and dismissed several world champions.

Provodnikov is an ideal style matchup for Bradley; he has been Pacquiao’s main sparring partner for the past 12 months, and will be prepared for the challenge Bradley presents across the ring from him.

Known for his aggressive style, Provodnikov will most likely look to pressure the champion early and do his best to establish his own pace of the fight.

In his last 5 fights Provodnikov has stopped his opponent four times, and has power in both hands, making him a dangerous puncher; although Bradley hasn’t been stopped in his pro career, he has shown a questionable chin at times.

Provodnikov knows the magnitude of this opportunity to fight for the world title.

“I want to thank my team and HBO for making this fight happen and giving me this long awaited opportunity,” said Provodnikov. “I promise that once everyone sees this fight no one will regret making it happen because once we are both in the ring I will fight until the end and the more Bradley will want to fight me the more exciting this fight will be for everyone!”

On paper this fight has the makings to be an all-out action packed war, and both warriors will be ready to shine. Bradley has looked increasingly better through each of his last fight—even though he was clearly outworked by Pac Man—and will undoubtedly be put to the test against Provodnikov.

Tickets for this battle will go on sale this Friday, and the fight can be seen live on HBO on March 16 at 10:15 p.m. Eastern.

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