Photo Credit : Chris Farina - Top Rank
CARSON, CALIF. (February 6, 2013) -- Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion and Top-10 pound for pound fighter TIMOTHY "Desert Storm" BRADLEY, JR. will make his 2013 debut, making his first title defense, against the No. 2-rated contender RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV, Saturday, March 16, under the stars at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Bradley vs. Provodnikov will be televised live as the main event on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.
These two gladiators boast a near-perfect record of 51-1 (27 KOs).
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Banner Promotions and Tecate, tickets to the Bradley- Provodnikov world championship event will go on sale This Friday! February 8, at 10:00 a.m. PT. Priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, tickets can be purchased online at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849 as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Suites are available by calling 1-877-604-8777. For information of group discounts, please call 1-877-234-8425.
" 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."
"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!"
"We are excited to be able to showcase Tim. He is a tremendous talent," said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. "Tim cleaned out the junior welterweight division as champion, beating everyone. We are confident that he will perpetuate that accomplishment as welterweight champion. It's going to be an exciting night."
“Ruslan understands that these opportunities do not come along often. He knows that this is a great chance for him and he will rise to the occasion and win the fight,” said Provodnikov's promoter Arthur Pelullo of Banner Promotions.
"We are delighted to present Timothy Bradley Jr.'s first defense of his world welterweight title on March 16 at The Home Depot Center in southern California," said Kery Davis, senior vice president, programming, HBO Sports. "An intriguing part of the fight is that it is as much of an opportunity for Bradley as his challenger Ruslan Provodnikov."
Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), from Palm Springs, Calif., a two-division world champion trained by Joel Diaz, returns to the ring off his historic and career-best victory over Manny Pacquiao last June 9, ending the defending WBO welterweight champion's title reign and his seven-year winning streak. It was only the fourth professional loss Pacquiao had suffered in a 60-bout career that included world titles in eight different weight divisions. Bradley, 29, won his first world title in 2008, travelling across the pond to dethrone the defending WBC super lightweight champion Junior Witter in the Englishman’s backyard of Nottingham, England. Bradley’s sixth-round knockdown of Witter shocked the hometown crowd as Bradley won a hard-fought split decision. One year later, in his second championship defense, Bradley unified the title by dominating then-WBO champion Kendall Holt. In a career-defining fight, Bradley weathered a first-round knockdown, and showed his trademark heart and determination during the remainder of the match, to win a unanimous decision. Bradley opted to keep the WBO junior welterweight title. Bradley successfully defended that title twice. In August 2009 he dominated former world champion Nate Campbell before an accidental clash of heads near the end of round three led to the fight later being ruled no contest when Campbell could not continue due to a nasty gash over his left eye. Bradley followed that up with a December 2009 schooling of undefeated interim WBO champion Lamont Peterson, which included a third-round knockdown, the first time Peterson had ever hit the canvas in his 27-bout professional career. With no worthy contenders available to defend his title against, Bradley moved up to 147 pounds and won a 12-round unanimous decision over undefeated Top-10 welterweight contender Carlos Abregu on July 17, 2010. Bradley kicked off 2011 by reunifying the welterweight titles with a 10-round shellacking of undefeated WBC super light champion Devon Alexander in January, followed by an eighth-round knockout victory of former world champion Joel Casamayor in November, setting up his date with destiny -- Pacquiao.
Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs), born and raised in Berezovo, Khanty-Mansi, Russia in Siberia, is trained by Hall of Famer World-Famous Freddie Roach. He has built up a steady fan base due to his exciting fights which have been televised nationally. Known for his aggressive style and excellent two-fisted punching power, Provodnikov, 29, is already more than prepared for his world title challenge inasmuch as he has been Pacquiao's main sparring partner for the past 12 months. Provodnikov, whose professional resume boasts victories over former world champions Javier Jauregui and DeMarcus Corley, is riding a five-bout winning streak, with four of those victories coming by way of knockout. He captured the WBO Inter-Continental junior welterweight title via a sixth-round stoppage of David Torres, January 27, 2012, and successfully defended that title five months later on June 29, knocking out Jose Reynoso in the second round. Torres and Reynoso had a combined record of 37-5-3 when they fought Provodnikov.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?