Ruslan Provodnikov shows his pedigree in the destruction of Ivan Popopca

It took Ivan Provodnikov (center) eight rounds but eventually he wore Ivan Popopca down to get the TKO. Photo: Jim Wyatt

With names that would rattle even the best spelling bee contestant, junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (19-1, 12 KOs) and Ivan Popopca (15-1-1, 10 KOs) put on a masterful display of boxing last night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. It was Provodnikov, the heavy hitter, versus Popopca, the busier. I bet you can’t say that 10 times without messing up.

The accumulation of blows finally took their toll as Ivan Popopca (r) is shown struggling to get back on his feet while referee Pat Russell stands close. Photo: J. Wyatt

While Provodnikov, the puncher, kept landing the big power shots to the midsection and head, Popopca was relentless as the sharpshooter who rarely missed his target. One or the other had to give way and this time it ended up being the boxer.

The breakdown of the previously unbeaten Popopca came in stages. In the second round, Provodnikov landed a devastating shot to the gut followed by a head jarring left hook. In round three, came two uppercuts and one big overhand right. The boxer controlled the fight in round four. Popopca got hurt badly in the fifth round while pinned against the ropes.

You could see the bewilderment on Provodnikov’s face when Popopca came out strong for round six. ‘What’s it going to take? I’ve already given him my best shots.” This was the first round that Provodnikov actually got up on his toes to take a breather.

After taking it easy in the previous round, Provodnikov came back strong in the seventh, landing a big left hook and then doubling up on the jabs and left hands.

In the eighth, Provodnikov began with powerful shots to the midsection and then dropped Popopca with a counter right to the head. Popopca was able to get up, but Provodnikov knew this was his grand opportunity and bull rushed his foe to land enough punches that the referee, Pat Russell, had to stop the bout.

As Ivan Popopca left the ring, the fans were cheering his performance. Photo: Jim Wyatt

When leaving the ring, a Popopca supporter came forward to add words of encouragement, “Hey, Dog, that’s not the end of you!”

My thoughts, ‘Yes, it is! Until he can get some more power behind his punches.’






Marvin Quintero (r) and Juan Santiago (l) literally went toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball, nonstop for three exciting rounds. Photo: Ray Flores

In the co-main event lightweight Marvin Quintero (22-3, 18 KO’s) stopped Juan Santiago (13-7-1, 8 KO’s) in the third round of a scheduled 10 round bout. Even though there was a lot of give and take in the first round, Quintero seemed to land the heavier leather featuring right crosses and straight lefts. Santiago, who took the fight on just five days notice, had his moments, but perhaps because he was facing a southpaw appeared to be at a distinct disadvantage from the outset especially with his footwork.


By the 3rd round, referee Tom Taylor made a judgment call and decided Juan Santiago (right) had taken too many blows to the head. Photo: Jim Wyatt


Quintero stunned Santiago to start the third round and then pinned him against the ropes until referee Tom Taylor decided to stop the bout at just 12 seconds into the round. Santiago was bitter about the early stoppage but in realty it appeared it was just a matter of time before Quintero took control of the fight. It was Santiago’s fifth loss in his last seven bouts.


At one point Mike Gavronski (r) was doing most of the damage versus the tough Tyrel Hendrix (l). Photo: Ray Flores

The bout of the night had to be the battle between light heavyweights Mike “Imagine Me” Gavronski and Tyrell “Hollywood” Hendrix. What a contest! Back and forth they went landing their knockout worthy blows. Both boxers scored a knockdown in the first round. After Hendrix (5-1-2, 2 KO’s) battered Gavronski in the second, back came Gavronski (2-0-1, 2 KO’s) in the third. By this time, Gavronski had a bad cut over his right eye, while Hendrix had a equally bad cut over his left.

Back came Tyrel "Hollywood" Hendrix (l) landing this big overhand right on the chin of Mike "Imagine Me" Gavronski (r). Photo: Ray Flores

Gavronski started out well in the fourth, but tired late in the round, allowing Hendrix to land several right hands to steal the round. One judge, Gwen Adair, scored the bout 40-36 for Hendrix, but was overruled by the other judges, Fritz Werner and Max DeLuca who had it 38-38. This here judge also saw it as a draw.

Well after the fight, the boxers and their seconds passed each other in the hallway and it sure looked as if they wanted to continue the scrap – bare-knuckles. Like Santiago, Gavronski took the fight on short notice (five days) and felt if he was better prepared he would have been able to KO “Mr. Hollywood.” To be continued?

To give them their just due, Daniel Gonzales (l) and Derek Williams (r) most likely won the battle for the ugliest fight of the night. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Heavyweight Daniel Gonzales (2-1, 1 KO) won an ugly, sloppy four round unanimous decision over Derek Williams, who was making his professional debut along with his big gut. The highlights from this fight involved an early knockdown that Gonzales scored in the second round plus the wildest swings and misses from both fighters. By way of protecting himself, Williams often took one wild swing and then engaged in a Lovefest involving a hug of the 6’5” giant. All three judges scored this snoozer 39-36 in favor of the giant.


Katarina De La Cruz (l) and Cindy Amador (r) pose for a photo after their four round non-stop battle. Photo: Jim Wyatt Cindi Amador (right) remained unbeaten after her four round unanimous decision victory over Katarina De La Cruz (left). Amador (3-0) gained got the nod by being the busier and more accurate of the two. De La Cruz (2-7-1), the game mother of four, kept throwing these wild uppercuts and straight rights that were almost always off the mark. Amador won the blowout victory by scores of 40-36, 40-36, and an unexplainable 39-37.



After knocking Willie Walton (right) off his feet, Dashon Johnson (center), is shown being restrained by referee Pat Russell. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Welterweight Dashon “Fly Boy” Johnson of Escondido, CA stopped Willie Walton, a southpaw from Salt Lake City, Utah, in the first round of a scheduled six round bout. Johnson (12-4-3, 4 KO’s) dropped Walton with a straight right hand to the head. Walton (4-4, 4 KO’s) stood up on wobbly legs and was again met with a barrage of punches. Referee Pat Russell stepped in immediately to stop the bout and perhaps save someone’s life. It appears the dazzle or panache is back in Mr. Johnson’s game.

Danny Ruiz (l) of nearby Riverside, CA, in his pro-debut, got a battle from the persistent William Fisher (r) from the Moreno Valley. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Lightweight Danny Ruiz of Riverside, CA was successful in his pro debut, winning a four round unanimous decision over William Fisher of Victorville, CA. Ruiz had Fisher’s nose bleeding in the first round and then dropped him in the second round. Despite his lack of defense, Fisher (0-3) never gave up and came back on several occasions to give Ruiz a few wake-up calls. Overall Ruiz landed far more punches and won on all three judges’ scorecards, 40-35, 39-36, and a questionable 38-37.

Runner-up for stinker of the night had to go to the tree hugger, David Johnson (l) and Garret Simon (r) who combined for the second fewest punches thrown. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In the final bout of the evening, heavyweight David Johnson (5-21-8) added his eighth draw to his resume with a four round majority decision draw against Garret Simon (5-0-1, 4 KO’s). One judge scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Simon, while the other two judges scored the bout 38-38 because of Simon’s inability to free himself from the constant hugging of the fat boy from Los Angeles.

Now here’s the kicker, on April 2, 2005, Johnson, who at the time had a record of 2-14-3, was able to capture the lightly regarded vacant World Boxing Empire super heavyweight title by winning a six round split decision over John Clark in Oakland.  Clark’s credentials: since November 5, 2004, Clark has been victorious four times in his last 16 fights.

Two months later, Johnson lost his WBE crown to a legit boxer by the name of Damian Wills (14-0).


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