EXCLUSIVE Ruslan Provodnikov: Being in action fights is as important to me as winning

James Slater speaks to Ruslan Provodnikov who reveals whether he'll spar Manny Pacquiao ahead of Lucas Matthysse showdown

IT will almost certainly be a case of bombs away when power-punching light-welterweights Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse – who have a combined  51 KOs between them – collide on April 18 in Verona, New York.

Both men have thrilled fans with their raw slugging approach and Russia’s Provodnikov is anticipating a potential Fight of The Year against the man from Argentina.

Here, the 31-year-old with the 24-3(17) record speaks about the “war” he is ready for:

Q: You said quite recently, before the Matthysse fight was finalised, how you saw it as a 50-50 fight. Do you still feel that way leading up to April 18th?

Ruslan Provodnikov (translated by Vadim Kornilov): “Definitely! This fight is going to be a real war. I know that and I am ready and I am prepared for that.”

Q: Fans everywhere are expecting a thriller, maybe even a Fight of The Year. Do you also feel this will be the case next month?

R.P: “Well, I do not see how it could not be! As I said, this is going to be war and I definitely think if it is not a Fight of The Year, then it will have a candidate for KO of The Year.”

Q: You definitely feel the fight will not go the distance?

R.P: “I would definitely say so. I never predict my own fights, but as I have been saying, I am almost 100-percent sure this fight ends with a KO. But of course, we will have to wait and see on the night.”

Q: Is this, potentially at least, the toughest fight of your career?

R.P: “I think he [Matthysse] is certainly one of the toughest opponents of my career. Everyone [the fans] knows who myself and Mattyhsse are and this is a dream fight – for them and for me. I wanted this fight straight away [as soon as it was a possibility].”

Q: You are known for your great action fights. Is pleasing the fans almost as important to you as winning?

R.P: “Definitely, yes. My fans are everything to me. I fight for my fans, not for money, but for them. But the way I fight, it comes from inside me, it is just my style.”

Q: Matthysse has been in some wars himself and he was knocked down twice by John Molina Jnr before winning last April. Do you feel he may be just a little past his best and will be vulnerable to your power shots?

R.P: “This is a possibility. But in this fight, there will be danger for both of us. I think this fight will come down to who is the stronger, both physically and mentally. This fight will show that [who is stronger].”

Q: When did you begin training camp?

R.P: “Two weeks ago, at The Wild Card [gym].”

Q: Will you be sparring Manny Pacquiao at all, as you get ready and as he gets ready for his massive fight with Floyd Mayweather?

R.P: “No, not this time. We do not fit the style of one another’s opponent. I will make sure I get good sparring though.”

Q:  A win over Matthysse would be big for you of course, do you anticipate a big 2015?

R.P: “Yes. I will get my [WBO light-welterweight] title back this year. I will do it for those people who do not believe I can get it back.”

Mayweather and Pacquiao begin training for May 2 superfight

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