Ruslan Provodnikov: “I’m Ready to go to War with Jose Luis Castillo”

Moscow, Russia / Philadelphia (November 12, 2014)–On Friday November 28, former world champions will collide when “The Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov squares off with Jose Luis Castillo in a 12-round Welterweight bout at the Luzhniki GCKZ “Russia” Arena in Moscow,

The fight is promoted by Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions and World of Boxing LLC

“I’m happy to be fighting at home! It’s been three years, and I’m ready for war with Castillo! Hope to see all my fans in Moscow on Nov. 28th!” said Provodnikov

Provodnikov will be making a homecoming as it will be his first fight in his native Russia since December 5, 2011.

Provodnikov of Beryozovo, Russia has a record of 23-3 with 16 knockouts and is the former WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion.

He is considered the most exciting fighter in the sport due to his crowd-pleasing style.  

Provodnikov won his first seventeen bouts as he defeated many quality opponents.
On March 16, 2013, Provodnikov took on undefeated WBO Welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Provodnikov beat and battered Bradley to the point where Bradley suffered a concussion and was sent to the canvas in the final seconds of the bout 

The fight made Ruslan a one of boxing’s “Cant Miss” stars.   Unfortunately, Bradley won a debated split decision in what was the 2013 Fight of the Year.

Since that bout, there has been a major push for the rematch, but Provodnikov has been turned down several times by Bradley.  Bradley has stated on more then one occasion that he will never get into the ring with Provodnikov again.

Provodnikov would not be denied as in his very next bout he won the WBO Jr. Welterweight title with an emphatic 10th round stoppage over Mike Alvarado in Alvardo’s hometown of Broomfield, Colorado.

Provodnikov dropped Alvarado twice in round eight, which were the first two times in Alvarado’s career that he ever tasted the canvas. Provodnikov continued to batter Alvarado until he could no longer take any more punishment and he quit on the stool in the bout which took place on October 19, 2013.  

Provodnikov is coming off a controversial split decision defeat to undefeated Chris Algieri, in a bout that saw Ruslan drop Algieri twice in round one and badly closed Algieri’s eye.  Most ringside observers and the audience watching on HBO thought the verdict should have gone to Provodnikov.

Castillo of Mexicali, Mexico is a two-time WBC Lightweight world champion who has made five total defenses and has been in several memorable bouts.

He has a record of 66-12-1 with 57 knockouts,

He captured the WBC Lightweight title on June 17, 2000 with a 12-round majority decision over Stevie Johnston (30-1).  He defended the title with a draw with Johnston and then he scored a 6-round stoppage over Cesar Bezan & Seung-Ho Yuh (13-1).

In April 20, 2002, Castillo was denied a victory that most believed he deserved when he pushed Floyd Mayweather to the limit before being on the wrong end of a unanimous decision.  Eight months later, Castillo fought a rematch with Mayweather and lost another unanimous decision in a bout where the scores were even closer than their first encounter.

On June 5, 2004, Castillo regained the WBC Lightweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano.  He defended the title with a 12-round split decision over Joel Casamayor and a 10th round stoppage over Julio Diaz..

On May 7, 2005, Castillo and Diego Corrales engaged in what most think is one of the greatest fights of all time.  They fought an epic battle that saw Corrales and Castillo wage an inside battle for the ages.  In the memorable 10th round, Castillo sent Corrales to the canvas twice.  Only to see, Corrales, with his left eye closed, comeback and landed a barrage of punches on the ropes before referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight.

Castillo got even in the rematch by stopping Corrales in the 4th round of the rematch.

Castillo has continued to fight and defeat top opposition and is on a two-fight winning streak and in his last bout, he defeated Jose Luis Payan (12-1-1) via 5th round stoppage on May 30 in Nogales, Mexico.

“I am very excited to have Ruslan fight back in Moscow.  Ruslan is one of the biggest stars in the sport of boxing.  He will be fighting in front of his countrymen in a sold-out arena against a great former world champion in Jose Luis Castillo.  I want to thank Andrey Rybinski for all his help and it has been a pleasure to work with him and his staff,” said Banner Promotions President Artie Pelullo.

An American television outlet will be announced shortly.

Forgotten Legends: Angel Manfredy


By: Steve Gallegos

Gary, Indiana is known for its steel mills and hard-working, blue collar citizens. When it comes to Boxing, Gary is known as the hometown of former Middleweight champion Tony Zale, who fought in the 1940’s. In the late 1990’s, Gary, Indiana produced another great fighter with tremendous skill and talent. His name was Angel El DiabloManfredy.

A skilled boxer-puncher with great charisma to go along with many tattooes, Manfredy was one of the most exciting “Little-Big” men to watch compete and was a favorite among fight fans in the late 90’s. Nicknamed “El Diablo“, he is well known for his flashy red and white trunks to go along with red socks and devil’s mask which he wore into the ring. Manfredy had a successful amatuer career of 48-8 and turned pro in June of 1993 and went 2-2-1 in his first 5 bouts. He lived a reckless, partying lifestyle outside the ring and one rainy night in 1993 after partying, Manfredy was involved in a very fatal car accident. While swerving to avoid hitting another car, Manfredy crashed head on into a telephone pole. He survived the accident, which caused him to have over 200 stitches in his head. It proved to be a wakeup call for Angel, who turned his life around after this accident, converting to Christianity and 10 days later he was back in the gym.

After his 2nd loss in 1994, Manfredy went on a hot streak, winning his next 10 bouts, seven by KO before facing former featherweight champion Calvin Grove. They met on 11/18/95 in Atlantic City, NJ for the vacant World Boxing Union super featherweight championship. Many were unsure if  the 21 year old Manfredy could hang in there with a very experienced veteran like Grove;  however he proved the naysayers wrong. Manfredy boxed well in the first few rounds; however Grove was starting to come on and put together a rally in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. In the seventh, Manfredy was able to land a huge right hand which rocked Grove. Manfredy smelled blood and went in for the kill, causing referee Tony Orlando to stop the bout.

While many didn’t consider the WBU to be a legitimate title, Angel Manfredy was a world champion. He would knockout six of his next seven opponents before getting his first taste of national exposure when he faced Wilson Rodriguez on 02/22/97 in Atlantic City. The bout was the co-feature of an HBO Boxing After Dark doubleheader. Rodriguez was known for his war with Arturo Gatti the previous spring in which he dropped Gatti and badly busted up Gatti’s eyes before being stopped in the sixth round. Manfredy boxed beautifully in his national debut, using his jab to setup great combinations to the body and head. He even weathered a late rally in which Rodriguez put him down. The end result would be a unanimous decision win for Manfredy.

He appeared on Boxing After Dark later that summer and scored an impressive eighth round TKO over former world champion Jorge Paez. This setup a huge showdown with Arturo Gatti. Prior to the fight, Jim Lampley of HBO said this fight is a 130 lb version of  Tony Zale vs Rocky Graziano. Gatti, the IBF Jr Lightweight champion, elected not to defend his title as he was no longer able to make the weight; therefore the bout would take place at Lightweight.

They met on 01/17/98 in Atlantic City. Gatti came out as the aggressor, landing some hard shots; however Angel landed a great right hand towards the end of the round, which caused a bad cut over Gatti’s left eye. The fight was a back and forth war in which Manfredy dropped Gatti in the third. In the eighth round, the cut over Gatti’s eye continued to worsen and Manfredy began landing hard shots causing the ringside doctor to stop the fight. It was the biggest win for Manfredy’s career and his stock rose tremendously after this fight.

After the fight, he called out “Prince” Naseem Hamed, who made his American debut the previous month in impressive fashion; however Hamed quietly avoided Manfredy’s challenge. Angel would perform impressively throughout 1998 and would end the year with a huge showdown with newly crowned Jr lightweight champion Floyd Mayweather. Many thought it was too soon for Mayweather to face an experienced pro like Manfredy.

They met on 12/19/98 in Miami, FL. Manfredy fought well in the first round; however Mayweather rallied big in the second round, forcing Manfredy against the ropes and the fight was stopped. Manfredy badly protested the stoppage, feeling it was premature. Angel was devasted by the loss, and was back in the ring two months later scoring a third round KO.

He then faced top contender Ivan Robinson on 04/17/99 in Indio, CA. Robinson was coming off of two impressive wins over Arturo Gatti and was offered a huge money title shot against lightweight champion Shane Mosley; however Robinson took a huge pay cut and opted to face Manfredy in what he thought would be an easy fight. Manfredy came into the bout with a huge chip on his shoulder and battered Robinson from the opening bell, landing hard shots all night, particularly to the body en route to a 10 round unanimous decision which was the highest rated Boxing After Dark of 1999. Sitting ringside that night was Woody Harrelson, who spent time with Manfredy prior to the bout in preperation for his role in the movie “Play it to the Bone” in which Harrelson played a character loosley based on Manfredy. The big win over Robinson set up another world title shot against WBC lightweight champion Stevie Johnston.

Shane Mosley had previously left the lightweight division and this fight would prove who was the best at lightweight. They met on 08/14/99 at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT. Manfredy was favored going into the fight; however Johnston who was in the familiar role of underdog, rose to another level. While Manfredy boxed well and had some good moments, he was clearly outboxed by the very underrated Stevie Johnston who would win by unanimous decision.

Manfredy later admitted in a 2012 interview with Doghouse Boxing that he wasn’t right and he was doing cocaine prior to the bout. He would continue fighting for another five years, going 14-4 from 2000-2004. He would challenge twice more for a world title and would come up short against Diego Corrales and Paul Spadafora. He retired in 2004 with a record of 43-8 with 32 KO’s. While he is considered a fighter who wasn’t able to win a major world title, he is definitely remembered by many including this reporter as a  true champion. Today, he lives a humble family life as a husband, father and grandfather. He devotes a majority of his time to his outreach program for kids. He did consider a comeback at one point, hoping to get a rematch with Mayweather. Whatever he decides to do, we definitely know he’ll do it very colorfully and flamboyantly.










Flashback: Stevie Johnston

By: Big Steve G.

Follow us @TheTitleFight



Early in his career, lightweight Stevie Johnston experienced success by beating top opposition including future world champions James Page and Sharmba Mitchell; both of which were no easy task.  Johnston got his first title shot in 1997 in Paris France against Jean Baptiste Mendy where he made true to his nickname “Lil’ But Bad” and boxed his way to a close decision despite being at a visible physical disadvantage.

Johnston went on to defend his title three times before facing 6 ft. lightweight Cesar Bazan in 1998 in front of 40,000 fans on the undercard of an Oscar De La Hoya main event at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. He had a hard time with Bazan’s style who was very good on the inside considering how tall he was. Johnston lost a close split decision only to later avenge his defeat on a Boxing After Dark main event 9 months later in Florida.

In 2000 Johnston put his belt on the line against relatively unknown Jose Luis Castillo and lost via majority decision in what was considered the Upset of the Year by Ring Magazine. They met for a rematch September 15th  of that same year in what ended as a peculiar outcome foreshadowing what was to come after.  Johnston was awarded a majority decision, only to have announced moments later that one of the judge’s scorecard was added incorrectly and should have been scored even, leaving the bout a draw and Castillo with the belt. It became Johnston’s last crack at a world title.

2003 saw Johnston lined up for a WBC title eliminator bout against Juan Lazcano only to end in an 11th round TKO.  Johnston took over two years off from the fight game and worked his way back up the ladder when he accepted an offer to face Vivian Harris on two weeks notice.  It would be another loss in a series of defeats that would end the storied fighter’s career. His final bout was on the 21st of May, 2008 against a young Edner Cherry in which Johnston suffered a KO in the tenth round. Although no fighter may choose to end their career on a loss, Johnston made the right decision considering the downward direction of his performance and left the sport with a string of bouts worthy of putting on replay.