FORMER WBO world super-lightweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov could fight for a world title in the first half of 2016 should he beat Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez on Saturday night [November 7].
Promoter Art Pelullo promised the Russian such an opportunity ahead of his clash with Rodriguez in Monte Carlo.
“HBO and Showtime want him,” said Pelullo.
“Ruslan is one of the premier fighters in the world. He’s a murderous puncher and has never been down once as an amateur or pro. I’ve had the privilege of promoting him his entire career.
“He destroys people and is one of the highest rated fighters on US television. He never does less than 1.5million viewers. He’s the ‘Siberian Rocky’ – just a great fighter.”
Provodnikov, who won the WBO bauble from Mike Alvarado in 2013 before losing it to Chris Algieri, simply said: “I will be world champion again.”
Terence Crawford, Viktor Postol, Adrien Broner and Eduard Troyanovsky currently hold world honours at 140lbs.
Previously trained by Freddie Roach, Ruslan recently teamed up with Joel Diaz who himself has parted ways with Tim Bradley.
Diaz has vowed to turn Provodnikov into a champion again, to which the fighter reportedly replied: “I will listen. I will sleep on the floor of the gym if I have to. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Diaz also insisted he is not altering Provodnikov’s all-action style but merely making it more effective.
“He gets hit a lot, so I focus more on defence, head movement and some other tricks of the trade so he doesn’t get hit so much,” he explained.
“He wants to go for the kill, but blocks himself. It’s hard for him to do offence-defence. I’m teaching him to use offence as defence.
“I’m not changing his style. We’re working on making opponents miss, and counter-punching. He needs to put together more combinations and improve his workrate. I’m also working on making him a devastating body-puncher. He’s reacted well; he’s so good to work with.”