Provodnikov Blasts Rodriguez in Four from Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo, Nov 7 – Ruslan Provodnikov promised to put on a show and he didn’t disappoint as he overwhelmed unbeaten Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez in four rounds at the glitzy Salle Des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.

With HRH Prince Albert looking on, the former WBO junior-welterweight champion wasn’t unduly stretched as he hit his stride early and pounded away until the finish of their scheduled 10-round welterweight clash. The Russian was the aggressor and although his Mexican opponent had some success counter-punching, he didn’t have the strength to hold off Provodnikov.

Rodriguez was sent reeling in the fourth, taking an eight-count after a succession of hooks to the body. After Rodriguez was decked again soon after, referee Stan Christodoulou wisely called a halt. It was Provodnikov’s first win since his narrow April defeat to Lucas Matthysse.

“I must praise Rodriguez,” said the Russian later. “A lot of big names didn’t want to fight, but he did.”

Earlier, David Avaneseyan of Armenia scored a ninth-round TKO over Venezuela’s Charlie Navarro for the WBA Interim welterweight title.

Navarro was a game opponent, but the Armenian took over from the fifth round, switching between orthodox and southpaw in a bid to throw Navarro off track. The Venezuelan was deducted a point in the fifth round for a low blow, which foreshadowed his gameplan unravelling.

After being put over in the ninth round he was asked by Christodoulou whether he wanted to continue. With a shake of the head, it was waved over.

Countryman Yonfrez Parejo had no better luck as he dropped a split decision to Ricky Hatton protégé Zhanat Zhakayinov for the WBA Interin bantamweight title.

Scores were 115-113 and 116-113 to Zhakayinov and 116-112 to Parejo.
It was nip and tuck from beginning to end with the Kazakh’s crisper punching giving him the edge.

In the night’s most explosive finish, cruiserweight Youri Kalenga of the Democratic Republic of Congo produced a devastating left hook to knock Roberto Bolonti of Argentina out in the ninth round.

Despite being put down twice in the third round, the Argentine proved a resilient opponent who often made Kalenga miss and was typically awkward. Bolonti also lost a point in the seventh for using his head.

Kalenga tended to be wild at times, but there was nothing wrong with his finish as he caught a back-pedalling Bolonti flush, sending him down for the full count.

In a fight for the WBC Silver super-bantamweight title, Qui Xiao Jun of China was barely troubled as he won via 11th-round TKO over Amor Beladj Ali of France.

Jun sent Ali to the canvas four times in all before his southpaw opponent was mercifully
rescued in the 11th.

Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves Adds Three Prospects to It’s Roster



Roman Zhailauov – Gary Sweeney – Otabek Ibragimov
Johannesburg, July 6 – African boxing powerhouse Golden Gloves has signed promotional deals with three exciting young international prospects – Gary Sweeney of Ireland, Roman Zhailauov of Kazakhstan and Otabek Ibragimov of Uzbekistan.

Rodney Berman, who recently propelled the UK’s Martin Murray to a championship shot against Golovkin, explained the rationale behind his company’s move beyond Africa. “The underlying reason is the massive rise in popularity in boxing in Europe and Eastern Europe, particularly as we are so far off the beaten track in Africa.”
Zhailauov has fought twice in South Africa already as part of the deal, with Sweeney making his professional debut in Johannesburg in September. Ibragimov will debut as a Golden Gloves fighter in Ukraine – he already has two fights scheduled – to be followed by his unveiling at a tournament in South Africa in December.

A veteran of around 300 amateur bouts, Sweeney is a seven-time Irish champion who captured silver at the European Championships and has fought all over the continent in establishing himself as one of the top amateur cruiserweights in Europe.
Before leaving for fight camp in Johannesburg in late August, he will resume training in Marbella, Spain under the good hand of world-rated Matthew Macklin, who will ensure he gets top-class sparring and accommodation.

Sweeney will then team up with leading trainer Colin Nathan, who looks after WBA and IBO minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler, for his September 19 debut.

“I’ve always liked the pro game so I’ve decided to give it a shot,” said the 21-year-old whose brother Michael is a veteran pro.

Said Michael: “We were thrilled to go with Golden Gloves, who have an excellent reputation and are well-established. I believe Gary will go far. Why not box and get paid for it?”

Sweeney worked out with Nathan during a stopover in South Africa last month and Nathan was very impressed. “His fundamentals are strong, his instincts are good and he’s a strong puncher. He’s going to be a very exciting addition to the cruiserweight scene and I look forward to working with him.”

Sweeney has fight dates pencilled in for September 19, December 2 and February 2016.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has pushed out some world class boxers in recent years, chiefly world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, Beibut Shumenov and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Thanks to Golden Gloves, we may soon add another name to this illustrious list in the form of junior-welterweight Zhailauov.

Having recently celebrated his 21st birthday while preparing for a bout in South Africa, he is 15-0 with nine stoppages.

Rodney Berman has already christened him “Baby GGG” on account of his baby-faced looks and punching power, which was evident with a one-round blowout of Luyanda Jako last month.
“He’s got a good right hand and is very strong with quick feet,” said former world title challenger Harold Volbrecht, who trains him for his South African fights. “I took him on the pads and he picked things up quickly. Despite the language barrier, he understood perfectly what to do.. He’s a natural.”
Manager Alex Kuznetsov, who hails from Ukraine, explained that Zhailauov has boxed since the age of 10, engaging in 150 amateur fights and winning a junior national title before turning pro in 2012.

He comes from a family of boxers. His father Hayrat boxed, as did his uncle Yersin, who won the WBO Inter-Continental super-bantamweight title 11 years ago.

Before his last fight, he set up camp in Kiev in the Ukraine and secured the sparring services of former WBA welterweight champ Vyacheslav Senchenko, who famously ended the career of Ricky Hatton.

Zhailauov is the national welterweight champion and also the WBC Asian champion. There are no big names on his record, but, like Golovkin himself, he is being slowly built with a view to making an assault on the world rankings in the medium-term.

Ibragimov is a 24-year-old southpaw who plans to campaign at super-middleweight.

He had 180 amateur fights, highlighted by winning the national title. He also participated at the World University Boxing Championships and was crowned Asia youth champion.

Asked about his three acquisitions, Berman said: “We know all about the Fighting Irish, so I’m very excited. We’re doing a three-fight deal with an irrevocable option to renew. I’m delighted Gary will be teaming up with Macklin, an old pro who knows the ropes and will be a superb influence on the youngster.

“If Roman comes through his September bout, we’re aiming to secure him a WBC Youth title shot in Monte Carlo in November. Ibragimov will work on the same basis as Roman. He will train in his home country and then head to South Africa a few weeks before his fights. We’ve also signed a three-fight deal with an irrevocable option to renew.”

Forgotten Legends: Richard Sandoval


By: Steve Gallegos

Southern California has always been an underrated hotbed for boxing talent. When it comes to boxing, Pamona, CA is known as the hometown of former world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley. However prior to “Sugar” Shane, Pomona had another world champion that was every bit as exciting and charismatic. That fighter was former Bantamweight champion Richie Sandoval.

Sandoval was an all action, fan friendly, boxer-puncher that thrilled fans throughout the 1980’s. For Richie Sandoval, boxing was in his blood as he came from a fighting family. His brother Alberto was a top bantamweight in the 1970’s who challenged for a world title. Richie was an outstanding amateur winning numerous national titles incuding the National Golden Gloves which he won twice. He earned a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Boxing team, however due to the cold war and the United States boycott of 1980 Olympic games in Moscow, Sandoval wasn’t able to compete. It was a devastating blow and many felt that the lack of olympic exposure robbed Sandoval of the notoriety and bigger paydays.

Despite the olympic disappointment, he moved on and turned pro in November of 1980 and went on a whirlwind of a streak as he knocked out his first 10 opponents. He would go 22-0 with 16 KO’s from 1980-1983. He was becoming a national sensation and was a favorite among fans and media alike. Boxing Analyst’s Al Bernstein and Gil Clancy highly praised Sandoval during this time.

He would then get a shot at a world title when he faced the very talented and experienced Jeff Chandler. They met on April 7th, 1984 at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ and it was for the WBA Bantamweight Championship. Chandler came into the bout as a heavy betting favorite and was making the 10th defense of his title. Chandler was also trying to break the record for the most consecutive title defenses in the Bantamweight division. Sandoval however had other plans.

Sandoval made his presence known in the first round as he caught Chandler with a flush right hand that staggered him. Sandoval went on the attack, landing hard lefts and rights and came very close to taking Chandler out. Sandoval controlled the pace of the bout, using his jab to get inside on Chandler and land good combinations to the body and head. He was also slipping and ducking many of Chandler’s shots and he didn’t let the champion get into any kind of a rhythm.
Sandoval would drop Chandler for the first time in his career in the 11th and he would then stop him in the 15th. It was a huge upset win and Richie Sandoval was now a world champion.

Sandoval would close out 1984 with two successful defenses of his title. Sandoval would begin having problems making the Bantamweight limit and would fight at featherweight over the next year going 4-0. The WBA then mandated that he defend his bantamweight title or be stripped of it. Therefore Sandoval would defend his title against the very tough challenger Gaby Canizales.

March 10th, 1986 was a cold, rainy night when Sandoval and Canizales met at the outdoor arena at the legendary Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The bout was part of a huge card that featured Thomas Hearns vs James Shuler and the brutal war between Marvin Hagler and John “The Beast” Mugabi.

Richie Sandoval had a very difficult time making the Bantamweight limit and came into the ring dry and weakened. Richie Sandoval came out in the first round, pumping his left jab to good effect. Richie, who was known for his good footwork and movement, elected to stand flat footed with Canizales, which was a surprise to many. As the last minute of round one winded down, Canizales landed a hard combination which included a right uppercut that put Richie Sandoval down. Sandoval got up and was able to make it out of the round, however he was hurt. The knockdown was a confidence builder for Canizales who came out in the second round and landed hard combinations. Richie’s corner told him between rounds that he had to move; however Sandoval elected to stand on the inside and trade shots. Sandoval was pumping his left jab very effectively, however he wasn’t throwing any other punches and being outlanded 2-1 by Canizales.

Rounds 3-4 were much of the same as Sandoval just couldn’t get into a rhythm. In the fifth, Canizales put Sandoval down again with a vicious combination. Richie showed the heart of the champion and once again rose to his feet to make it out of the round. It would only get worse for Sandoval as Canizales would put him down 3 more times in round 7, which would end the fight.

The scene inside the ring would turn frightening as Sandoval layed on the canvas, out cold. Moments later, the stretcher was brought into the ring and Sandoval was taken to the hospital via ambulance. He remained in critical condition over the next few days and would have to undergo brain surgery. He was able to make a full recovery, however his boxing career was over. He retired with a record of 29-1 with 17 KO’s.

He was an outstanding fighter with great potential and promise only to have his career come to a screeching hault. What would have happened had he just elected to vacate his title and move up in weight instead of taking the Canizales fight? Would he have become a multi-division world champion as we see so much today? Instead he became another ‘what if’. Another very good fighter that was robbed of becoming great.