TEMECULA, CALIF-South Korea’s Ji-hoon Kim overcame a sluggish start against Michigan’s Tyrone Harris to win by technical knockout in a lightweight showdown and Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov stayed on course against Mexico’s Javier Jauregui in a junior welterweight bout on Friday.
A crowd of more than 2,000 at Pechanga Resort and Casino saw Smoking Joe Frazier as a guest and also saw a pair of prospects move up in ranks. A portion of the fight card was televised by ESPN.
The main event featured South Korea’s Kim (20-5, 17 KOs) matched against southpaw Harris (24-6, 16 KOs) who recently upset a Mexican contender the last time he appeared in the Temecula casino.
Both heavy-handed fighters erupted on each other with punches at the opening bell. Harris was the sharper more accurate puncher especially with the right hook. Kim had his moments after weathering the opening storm.
“I did get hurt in the first round with a left hand to the body,” said Kim who lives in Goyang City, South Korea. “I knew he had a good punch.”
The slick fighting Harris continued to find a home for his right hook that caused Kim to walk into a straight left that wobbled the Korean fighter. After absorbing a number of blows Kim survived the second round.
Kim adjusted in the third round by shortening his punches. Instead of going for big bombs the Korean boxer shortened the span of his blows and began to attack the body of Harris. It was his first winning round.
Harris tried to regain the momentum by opening the fourth round with a four-punch combination. But Kim kept working those short punches and connected with a right cross that slightly staggered Harris.
The Korean fighter wasted no time in attacking Harris. A three-punch combination floored the Michigan fighter but he beat the count. Then Kim opened up with a flurry of blows as Harris leaned on the ropes. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the fight at 1:52 of the fourth round in favor of Kim.
“I came out after the fourth round and saw he had tired,” Kim said.
In the semi-main event, young junior welterweight prospect Ruslan Provodnikov (14-0, 10 KOs) got over a big hurdle with a win over former world champion Javier Jauregui (53-17-2, 36 KOs).
The younger Provodnikov jumped to an early lead but Mexico’s Jauregui found success by resorting to pot shots at the Russian fighter in the third round and the beginning of the fourth round with overhand rights and left uppercuts.
From there on it was Provodnikov’s strength and youth versus Jauregui’s craftiness as both worked each other carefully for the next three rounds but the Russian fighter never tired and Jauregui was unable to land an effective punch. A barrage of blows at 2:10 of the seventh round caused referee Reiss to halt the fight in favor of Provodnikov.
Gabriel Tolmajyan (7-1), a southpaw, had an easy four rounds against Costa Rica’s Anthony Martinez (21-34-3) and ultimately stopped veteran with a left cross at 2:14 of the fourth round of a featherweight bout.
Dashon Johnson (9-2-2, 3 KOs) connected with a right uppercut that drove Pacoima’s Sergio Macias (14-20-1) to the ropes and forced referee Jack Reiss to cease the welterweight fight at 1:52 of the third round. Johnson is from Escondido.
Russian super middleweight prospect Maxim Vlasov (15-0, 6 KOs), a cocky boxer from Samara, faced Julius Fogel (15-2, 10 KOs) of North Carolina who had only suffered one defeat in 16 fights. No problem for Vlasov who connected with a right cross that dropped Fogel to his knees. Referee Hedgepeth counted to nine with Fogel waiting until that time to get off his knee and was counted out at 2:42 of the first round.
Former heavyweight amateur star Garret Simon (2-0) walked through Tucson’s Francisco Mireles (5-5) at 1:53 of the first round. After hurting Mireles twice Washington’s Simon put on the pressure and referee Reiss saw enough to stop the fight.
Pasadena’s Eder Peralta (1-1) managed to track down the fleet and flashy Edgar Flores (0-1) despite shorter arms with a left hook to the head at 2:22 of the first round for a knockout victory in a featherweight bout. It was Peralta’s first victory.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?