Doug Fischer

Provodnikov KOs Torres, Kim outslugs Amidu on FNF

Junior welterweight standout Ruslan Provodnikov won his fourth consecutive fight since suffering the first loss of his career one year ago by knocking out David Torres in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round Friday Night Fights main event from Airway Heights, Wash.

Provodnikov (21-1, 14 knockouts) dropped Torres in the first round and twice in the sixth before referee Robert Howard stepped in to halt the one-sided bout at 2:53 of the round.

Between knockdowns, the 28-year-old Russian slugger controlled the bout with steady pressure, a heavy jab and well-timed right hands that did most of the damage to Torres (21-3-2, 13 KOs), who lacked the size and strength to match Provodnikov’s power and didn’t have the technique to neutralize the fringe contender’s aggression.

Not that Provodnikov’s skill was anything to write home about. His punching technique was sharper than usual and he managed to move his head more than he did when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Mauricio Herrera last January, but for the most part he beat Torres the same way he normally wins fights – with a high-volume offense and lots of brute strength.

Provodnikov, who trained with Freddie Roach for Friday’s fight, threw 100 punches in the first round, connecting with with 40 (compared to only 7 connects from Torres), according to CompuBox.

However, the 33-year-old Washington native survived the first-round onslaught, occasionally landed his right over the next four rounds, and had a moment early in the sixth when he backed Provodnikov to the ropes and landed a good combination. However, that “moment” only served as a wake-up call for Provodnikov, who stepped on the gas pedal and overwhlemed Torres before the end of the round.

Provodnikov, who only had three weeks with Roach, wants to return to the Wild Card Boxing Club as soon as possible where he hopes more time with the master trainer will result in more improvements.  

In the opening bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, hardnosed former lightweight title challenger Ji-Hoon Kim pounded out a 10-round unanimous decision over equally tough Yakubu Amidu in a fast-paced, crowd-pleasing barnburner.

Kim (23-7, 18 knockouts), a 25-year-old slugger from South Korea, received a game challenge from Amidu but his higher workrate, combination punching and better punch variety was the difference in the entertaining scrap.

Kim, who stunned Amidu (20-3-1, 18 KOs) with straight right hands in rounds three and four, won by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94. However, the 27-year-old Los Angeles-based Ghanaian had a strong second round and bounced back from being rocked in the fourth by outslugging Kim in rounds five and six.

The lightweights traded non-stop punches down the stretch of the fight, but Kim was the busier and more accurate puncher of the two.

It was a much-needed victory for Kim, who was only one fight removed from back-to-back losses to Lenny Zappavigna, who stopped him in one round last October, and to Miguel Vazquez, who outclassed him in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBF title last August.

Amidu had won four consecutive bouts since suffering a seventh-round TKO to former 130-pound beltholder Ricky Burns.

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