WBO light-welterweight king Ruslan Provodnikov is expecting to have his hands full on June 14 when the hard-hitting Russian defends his title against undefeated Chris Algieri at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
‘The Siberian Rocky’ has found landing a big-name opponent tough as most of Top Rank’s stars have been picked to face each other, leaving Provodnikov, 30, to scout around for an alternative challenger.
“It’s been a little frustrating trying to find an opponent, but I got the long rest I need after two hard fights and now I’m glad to back in training camp preparing for my next fight,” Provodnikov outlined to World Boxing News.
After facing two former world champions in Mike Alvarado and Timothy Bradley in a breakout 2013, Provodnikov now locks horns with up and coming contender Algieri in his first defence of the WBO title.
Algieri has an unblemished 19-0 record with eight stoppages, and the 30 year-old New Yorker will make the world championship level step-up for the first time in his six-year career.
Talks of a possible clash with Brandon Rios surrounded Provodnikov in the early stages of the selection process, although concerns over whether the Oxnard-based puncher could make the weight safely ended a potentially explosive encounter.
“We wanted the Rios fight from the beginning, but we are not sure that he did,” said Provodnikov. “We believe his manager and promoter also did not want him to fight me for some reason or they, like us, did not think he can make the weight.
“After talks with my team and the network, we partly agreed that Algieri is a worthy challenger and I will have to end his record to keep my title. He will be another young prospect trying to take away a championship belt and fights that you don’t expect always turn out to be the most interesting, just like my fight against Timothy Bradley which was one of the fights of the year for 2013.
“I have an important fight on June 14, but with a win I will be looking once again for Bradley,” he added.
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