By Yuri Tarantin
Back in 2007, "Siberian Rocky" Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16KOs) had his second ring appearance in the United States. Provodnikov, then a 3-0 prospect, appeared on the Ricky Hatton vs. Jose Luis Castillo undercard at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Even at that time, Castillo was already on the downslide of his pro career. Now 40-years-old, Castillo (66-12-1, 57KOs) is not the same fighter who tested the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Joel Casamayor and Diego Corrales.
But on November 28th in Moscow, Provodnikov will face Castillo in a fight the Siberian slugger thought would never happen when they fought on the same card more than seven years ago.
"Many refused [to fight me], and I only had two options - Julio Diaz and Castillo. The style is the same for both boxers. When I started sparring, I began to prepare for them. The only caveat remained was the signing of the contract. But that was a matter of time. I am glad that it all came together and we are already preparing for battle with a specific person," Provodnikov said.
"This is a former star. In 2007, when I had my second fight in the United States, I was on Castillo's undercard. Back then, I never even thought that one day I would be in the ring with him. I have a deep respect for him as a fighter and as a person. He is a very good boxer. His huge plus - is his experience. I am not underestimating the enemy and the training is very serious. Almost as much as the latter three championship fights. Right now I have everything at stake. And any damage or a bad fight can affect my career. I intend to re-enter to fight for the world title. For me and my team, it is very important to clearly [look good]."
"We are preparing for a heavy contender. I am getting ready for Castillo, who was at the peak of his career, when he fought Mayweather, Corrales. I do not want to underestimate the enemy. After all, this is my job. And now if I treated it lightly, it could not achieve its objective. The following year, HBO has promised me the big fights. Recently I was also at the convention WBO and there was already a preliminary promise [to fight for the title]. So now we need to train and win. I'm motivated, hungry for victories and want to prove that I can once again become a world champion. This for me is the number one goal."
Yuri Tarantin covers boxing for Allboxing.ru