Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Ivan Popoca faces the biggest challenge of his career this Friday night against Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov in the ten round main event of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. Long a fan favorite in Chicago, fighting under the 8 Count Productions banner, the heavy handed Popoca has comprised a record of 15-0-1 with ten knockouts over the course of his five year career.
Having fought his last six fights at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion as part of the “Windy City Fight Night” series, Popoca has thrilled local fans with his devastating knockout power and aggressive style.
“Ivan’s one of the toughest fighters we’ve seen in Chicago in many years. He’s got very good boxing skills, but if a war is going to happen he’s the guy you want. With Provodnikov’s brawling style this has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it” said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions.
Last May, Popoca was involved in an ESPN Round of the Year candidate for his battle with Jose Luis Soto Karass. Although down hard in round four, Popoca picked himself off the mat and won the round, stopping Soto Karass in the following round.
In his last major bout, Provodnikov, 18-1-0 (12 KOs), lost a twelve round unanimous decision to Mauricio Herrera on January 7th in a bout which was broadcast on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from Las Vegas.
Popoca won an eight round unanimous decision over Martin Tucker on November 19th, cutting off the ring and blasting away with heavy body shots throughout the fight.
Said Pesoli, “Here in Chicago, Ivan’s become almost a cult figure here. Fans can’t wait to see him in action. In his last fight against Tucker in November, the huge crowd was standing and screaming from the opening bell.”
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and he told me he wanted to fight the “big boys” at 140. He wanted Victor Ortiz, Danny Garcia, those types of world class talents. If he beats Provodnikov, he’ll get his chance at bigger fights so he knows this is his time to shine.”
“ESPN2’s got themselves a great fight this week In this case boxing fans, be happy because you got what you wished for.”