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Provodnikov returns in late May or early June, first choice Marquez, then Rios

Phil Jay 14/02/2014

WBO light-welterweight title holder Ruslan Provodnikov has been handed a late spring/early summer return by promoter Artie Pellulo as the Russian continues his efforts to nail down a high profile opponent for his next defence.

‘The Siberian Rocky’ has been linked with some of the top names at 140 and 147 since dethroning Mike Alvarado of his belt last year, although his current number one target is now reportedly in negotiations with his ex-opponent.

Provodnikov had hoped to land a return fight with Timothy Bradley initially, but when the American agreed to face Manny Pacquiao again on April 12, the 30 year-old made Juan Manuel Marquez his main focus.

Reports now have Marquez and Alvarado possibly meeting on May 17 in LA, leaving Provodkinov and manager Vadim Kornilov to continue putting the feelers out on a fight with Brandon Rios, which was reported by WBN on February 4.

“There is no set date yet, but our promoter Arthur Pelullo confirmed to me that Ruslan will be back on HBO at the end of May or beginning of June,” Kornilov told World Boxing News.

“Marquez is still our first choice, but it seems like he is choosing the guy that just got knocked out by Ruslan – Mike Alvarado, which doesn’t really coincide with his plans of getting another world title, but his team made the safer decision I assume.

“Brandon Rios is definitely on the top of our list after that, he is a great fighter and will fight anybody, anywhere and that’s why Ruslan thinks he really deserves the chance.

“He doesn’t’ duck anybody and will fight everybody, but if his promoter cannot be sure that he will make weight on fight night then I don’t think the fight can happen and we will have to look for another opponent.”

Rios last fought when losing on points to Pacquiao in Macau at the back end of 2013 and has not yet made it clear when he will return at 140 or 147lbs. It is certainly viable that the two could meet at welterweight in a non-title clash if the scales were an issue for Rios, with Provodnikov comfortable in either division as he has proved in the past.

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