By Alexey Sukachev
Two reigning Russian champions – WBO light welterweight king Ruslan Provodnikov and IBF featherweight ruler Evgeny Gradovich – and their habitats were separated by no less than 100 km during their childhood… Almost neighbors, if you talk about Siberia. No surprise that both are familiar with each other from amateur days and continue to root for each other after shifting to the pros.
On June 14, Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) will step into the spotlights of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to make the first defense of his title against undefeated American Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs). Gradovich considers Provodnikov to be a favorite.
“Chris has trained in our gym [in Oxnard], so I’m familiar with his style and with his work”, commented Gradovich to Allboxing.ru. “He moves well, light on his feet, but he lacks punching power and he is also a newcomer from kickboxing. I think Ruslan’s level [of kill is] higher so he should defeat Chris convincingly. However, it’s boxing so Ruslan should be aware of Algieri and he shouldn’t underestimate him”.
“Chris has the home advantage as he is fighting in his backyard. There are those who would be inspired by that. But I wish the best of luck to Ruslan. May his camp be successful, injury-free, and may he accomplish whatever he is destined to do”, added Gradovich.