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FIGHT PREVIEW: Bradley v Rios – promises an all-action encounter!

Brandon Bradley

WBO World Welterweight Champion Timothy “Desert Storm,” Bradley Jr (32-1-1, 12 KOs) is in action this weekend as he takes on Brandon “Bam Bam,” Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas this Saturday night.

Bradley last fought in June, outpointing Jessie Vargas for the interim WBO World Title and was elevated to full status when Floyd Mayweather decided not to pay the sanctioning fees required to keep the belt he had won from Manny Pacquiao in May. The fight against Rios will mark the first defence of his title and it promises to be an all action affair.

Bradley has developed a reputation for being something of a human windmill in the ring. Since 2009 his all-action style has helped him secure victories over; Lamont Peterson, Devon Alexander Joel Casamayor, Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.

Bradley subsequently lost the rematch with Pacquiao in April 2014, followed by a split draw with Diego Chaves that December. The Vargas fight got him back to winning ways but he now faces another challenge in the shape of Rios.

Rios’ last fight was a third round knockout of Mike Alvarado, their third meeting in a gruelling trilogy which, saw the other two fights being nominated as fight of the year candidates in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

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Rios will be expected to come forward and put pressure on Bradley. Regarded as a brawler Rios likes to throw the uppercut and hooks to the head and body. His first fight with Alvarado was a brutal affair, ending in a seventh round stoppage in favour of Rios but it demonstrated that Rios has impressive punch resistance.

He was completely outclassed by Manny Pacquiao in November 2013 and soaked up a great deal of punishment on route to a unanimous points defeat. Since then he has secured back to back victories and he will certainly put on a show against Bradley.

At 32, Bradley is now considered a veteran of the fight game, his record shows that he has only won one of his last three fights but his experience against top level opposition dictates that he must be regarded as the favourite for this fight.

Bradley is more than capable of dealing with pressure fighters having stood toe-to-toe with Ruslan Provodnikov in the 2013 Fight of the Year which he won. Bradley may opt to box his way to a point’s victory in a similar fashion to how Pacquiao beat Rios. Bradley is not known for concussive power, his last stoppage victory came back in 2011, so there is a high probability this will go the distance. However with the knowledge of both these fighter’s styles it’s safe to say this could potentially be a Fight of the Year Candidate.

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Featuring on the undercard is Featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) the two-time Ukrainian Olympic Gold medallist and the man regarded as one of the best amateur boxers in history, defends his WBO World Featherweight title against Mexican Romulo Koasicha (25-4, 15 KOs).

Lomachenko 27, made headlines in 2014 by claiming a world title in only his third professional fight. This was something almost totally unheard of in the professional game, but with an amateur career record that reads; 396-1, it is plain to see how his transition to the professional ranks was so easy.

His opponent Koasicha 24, lost a twelve round decision to Lee Selby back in May 2015 but since then has notched up four consecutive victories, three by stoppage. There are no top level names on his record outside of Selby’s so this should be regarded as a routine defence for Lomachenko.

As a footnote to the rest of this weekend’s action former WBO World Super-Lightweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (24-4, 17 KOs) takes on Mexican Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (14-0, 11 KOs) in Monte Carlo on Saturday.

Dubbed the ‘Siberian Rocky,’ Provodnikov is a highly regarded pressure fighter who has been involved in a series of high profile fights including the aforementioned fight of the year against Timothy Bradley Jr.

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Provodnikov recently split from his trainer Freddie Roach and has enlisted the help of Joel Diaz who recently parted ways as Bradley’s trainer. Provodnikov is in the process of rebuilding his career having lost three of his last six fights.

On paper his opponent Rodriquez has an impressive looking record, but he has never fought a noteworthy opponent, in fact many of his opponents have a significant number of losses on their records. One would have to be very optimistic to believe that Rodriguez could pull off an upset.

That said, it will be interesting to see how Provodnikov rebuilds from his bruising losses to Matthysse, Algieri and Bradley. If he wins then he will be propelled back into contention for title fights in the Super-Lightweight division. If Rodriguez upsets the odds then it would spell disaster for Provodnikov who would slip out of the top ten rankings.

It’s worth keeping an eye on.

Bradley v Rios is live on BoxNation (Sky Channel 437) from 1.30am on Saturday 7th November.

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