EXCLUSIVE: Ruslan Provodnikov WILL RETURN for 'BIG CHALLENGE' despite 'not missing boxing'

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In an exclusive interview with WBN this week, former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov has confirmed he will consider coming out of retirement.

The 34 year-old announced in 2017 that is was unlikely he would return to action, although things have changed slightly since then and the Russian will consider any lucrative or high-profile offers.

Spending his time away enjoying family life, Provodnikov has been on hiatus for almost two years since losing to John Molina Jr. in a twelve round war.

The always exciting 'Russian Rocky' built a massive fan base through engaging in spectacular match-ups against the likes of Timothy Bradley, Mike Alvarado and Lucas Matthysse.

Provodnikov says a serious contract for a clash of similar stature could be enough to lure him back to the ring for a 31st career contest.

"To be honest, I'm not missing boxing but I'm staying in great shape," Provodnikov exclusively told World Boxing News. "My weight in the morning is 146 so I'm feeling great and there is nothing bothering me.

"To get into the ring again I need some big challenge to make me do that. As always, I said If (Tim) Bradley will ever want to make it (a rematch) again I'm ready to go."

Asked what he's been focusing his efforts on since deciding to step away, Provodnikov replied: "I'm spending all my time working in politics, giving back to my people.

"Also, I've been spending time with my family, which is the reason I was fighting for, so I can say that I'm happy."

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Pictures of Provodnikov are commonplace on social media as a doctored meme regularly does the rounds featuring his face following the majority loss to Matthysse.

Many people speculated Provodnikov may have bowed out from fighting due to health reasons or doctor's advice but the solid puncher was keen to reveal this wasn't the case.

"I never had any test or any advice from any doctors," he said. "Everything is fine with my health, I'm very healthy, looking into the fights that I'v been through, thanks to God as physically I feel great.

"I don't know much about my divisions right now but I know that the strongest fighter of 140 moved up and that's Crawford

"I know that there aren't many of the big names right now, so I honestly I think that if I do come back I will be one of the top guys.

"Right now, I only know Mikey Garcia is one of the top guys at 140 - with Crawford, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence at 147. I'm actually a big fan of Crawford and I always liked the way he fought.

"These are the type of names I would accept as a challenge if I do return," concluded Provodnikov.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay

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