Friday, October 18, 2013

Mike Alvarado And Ruslan Provodnikov Ready To Wage War

By Peter Silkov

Some boxing fans appreciate the finer points of the game and the certain things, which can make this complex and often dark sport, become ‘the sweet science’.

However most, if not all, boxing fans enjoy a good old fashioned slugfest, when two fighters go toe-to-toe, and test each other in the most basic, yet thorough ways possible.

When Mike Alvarado 34-1(23kos) and Ruslan Provodnikov 22-2(15kos) meet in the ring this Saturday, October 19, at the 1st Bank Centre, in Denver, Colorado, they are expected to take part in just such a slugfest. Indeed, so confident are observers about the potential of this clash, that it is already being seen as, possibly, the fight of the year.

Both fighters have the reputation of being no-nonsense warriors, who leave it all in the ring every time they fight. Added to this is the fact that each man is coming off a career highlight fight which has cemented their reputation with the fans, in the boxing community. Mike ’Mile High’ Alvarado is coming off the two most important and high profile fights of his career, his two wars with Brandon Rios, losing the first via 7th round stoppage last October, but then, winning the rematch on points in March.

Just two weeks prior to Alvarado’s point’s win over Rios, Provodnikov had his own breakout fight, when he dueled with Timothy Bradley for 12 wildly exciting rounds, in a fight, which is still considered by many to be the fight of this year (perhaps a few other years as well!)

In the end, although the Russian came out a points loser against Bradley, it was one of those fights in which there were no real losers (a bandwagon that Bob Arum himself was quick to jump upon post fight) and Provodnikov’s status within the sport rose considerably.

Now, both men are set to face each other, in what is for many boxing fans, a dream fight come true. There may be a lot wrong with boxing, in many areas, but at the moment, the light-welterweight division is the hottest division in the sport, and in serving up clashes like this one, (just months after we had Lucas Matthysse vs. Danny Garcia and Marcos Maidana vs. Joseito Lopez) it is helping many fans keep their faith in the sport.

This match is for WBO World light-welterweight title, after Alvarado won the ‘interim’ version of the title in his rematch with Brandon Rios. However, the truth is, the title itself is meaningless to most of the people who are looking forward to seeing this fight. These two men could be fighting over a bag of crisps and they would still be filling up the 1st bank centre. In an era flooded by spurious titles, many fighters have now transcended the meaningless belts, for which they often have to fight, true boxing fans want to see real fights, between well-matched boxers, rather than fighters with padded records maneuvered into dubious titles.

All in all, this fight seems almost too good to be true, and perhaps we should guard against expecting it to surpass both fighters’ most recent efforts, in case we end up disappointed. Sometimes fights that have had fans in raptures before the first bell have had them running for the exit before the last. Perhaps, we should not shout too loud when a match-up excites us. Having said that, it is hard to look at these two men, and imagine that when they face each other in the ring, we won’t see a great fight breaking out.

Despite his reputation as a blood and guts warrior, Alvarado is really a boxer-puncher, rather than simply an out and out brawler. He has said, in the build-up to this match that he intends to use his boxing skills to out-maneuver and out-box Provodnikov, much as he did in the rematch with Rios. However although Alvarado has better boxing skills than his Russian opponent, he is no Timothy Bradley, when it comes to speed, and elusiveness. If Provodnikov was able to catch Bradley, like he did in their fight(even when Bradley had got his boxing together after being almost koed in the first two rounds), then it seems unlikely that Alvarado will be able to go through this match without being seriously caught at some point. What happens next may well determine the outcome of the fight.

Provodnikov is more of a straightforward brawler than Alvarado is, and will be conceding height and reach, to the Denver man. Provodnikov showed against Bradley, that he is a veritable Russian tank, with power in both hands. How will Alvarez fare against the punches, which had the iron-chinned Bradley on the floor twice (although one knockdown was strangely ignored!) and out on his feet for much of their fight?

The fact that this fight is at light-welterweight, rather than welterweight, where he fought Bradley, should be in the Russian’s favour, providing he is still strong at the lighter weight. In his first fight with Brandon Rios last year, Alvarado was stopped in the 7th round, after he was overpowered by Rios’ constant pressure, and big punches. Provodnikov has a similar brawling style to Rios, but is arguably bigger and stronger, with a heavier punch. With this in mind, Alvarado should be advised to employ the kind of tactics against the Russian, which brought him revenge against Rios in March.

As stated earlier, at some point Provodnikov will manage to land significantly upon Alvarado, and the question then will be can he ride the storm of the Russians powerful assaults? This fight will be decided by what happens when both men finally stand toe-to-toe. If Alvarado can survive these episodes, then there is a good chance of him jabbing, and fighting his way to a close (and perhaps controversial) point’s decision, in what is basically his backyard.

Unfortunately, as we have seen already this year, having the home advantage in such a tough fight as this can be the difference between victory and defeat, especially where the judges are concerned. This is really a homecoming fight for Alvarado (albeit a very tough one), and having the home advantage, will be a significant point in Alvarado’s favour.

Provodnikov’s best chance of victory looks to be via a stoppage or knockout, either of which is a possibility for a fighter who is dangerous, both early and late, in a fight.
With both men also prone to facial damage in their bouts, there is always the possibility of cuts coming into play, and affecting the outcome of the fight.

This is a huge match for both fighters, with the winner going on to further ‘super fights’ in this dynamic division, while the loser will inevitably find himself slipping down in the pecking order.

Conceivably, this match could have several possible conclusions. The surest thing is that it is unlikely to be boring or for the faint hearted, and may well be another fight of the year candidate. Just don’t say it too loudly…yet!

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and
twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail

Monday, October 7, 2013

James Helder Interviews Mark Prince

James Helder of IFilmProductions interviews Mark Prince about his inspiration to begin a legacy in the name of his son Kiyan. The Kiyan Prince Foundation mission, as stated by the foundation:

Our mission is to inspire young people to turn their back on the problem and become part of the solution. We aim to:

- Raise awareness so young people can understand the true and devastating effects their knife culture is having on their future and the communities
- To give alternatives/opportunities to young people caught up in gang and knife culture
- Create and provide more positive opportunities for young people by connecting with a vast range of organisations
- Educate, Train, Empower and raise Awareness with young people in all areas applying to knife and gang crime
- Run boxing and fitness programmes creating outlets for aggression build discipline and positive use of time
- To provide Motivational and Inspirational talks on surviving the tragic effects of knife crime
- To create a KPF Youth committee to have a voice about what solutions are needed. Helping to empower them in their communities.
- Running Fundraising events to raise money for long term goals and programmes
- To deliver courses, training and workshops to schools and other establishments for young people; educating them about the dangers
- Take them on residentials away from their environment to experience activities that encourage team building self knowledge social skills

Mark Prince Coming Back to Make a Difference

By Peter Silkov

Stories of boxers making a comeback to the ring after years in retirement and long past their primes, are as old as the sport of boxing. They often are melancholy tales of faded glory and lost youth that seemingly never end happily. At first glance, Mark Prince’s comeback last Friday (October 4 2013) at London’s famous York Hall, in Bethnal Green, is no different to so many other boxers of the past. Prince was a world-rated light heavyweight in the late 1990’s and his only career defeat came in a WBO world light-heavyweight title fight with the formidable Dariusz Michalczewski. That fight took place on September 19, 1998, after which, Prince fought once more fourteen months later, beating Kevin Mitchell in the first round, before hanging up his gloves due to a severe knee injury. Friday’s comeback fight would be the first time that Prince had stepped competitively into a boxing ring in almost fourteen years.  This and his age of forty-four, did not look like boding well for Prince in his comeback.  Fourteen years is a lifetime in a boxer’s career, and few boxers get a chance to live their athletic lives again. 

However, Mark Prince’s comeback to the ring is different. Rather than donning the gloves once more, simply out of boredom, or a desire to relive past glories, Prince has a cause that he is indelibly bonded. On May 18, 2006, Mark’s fifteen-year-old son, Kiyan Prince, an immensely talented young footballer for Queens Park Rangers, was fatally stabbed after intervening in a street fight between two youths outside his school. In a cruel irony, Prince had spent much of his time since retiring from boxing in 1999, working with disadvantaged youths, and trying to steer them into a positive direction in life, just as he had found a new life away from the streets, after he had taken up boxing in his early 20s.  In the wake of his loss, Mark decided to make something positive come out of the tragedy of Kiyan’s death. He created the Kiyan Prince Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is committed to combating knife crime and all forms of youth violence. The ultimate aim is to make the younger generation aware that there is another path in life to choose, rather than the petty crime, and gang violence, by which so many live today. 

Since setting up the Kiyan Prince Foundation, Mark has become a familiar spokesman against violence and delinquency, but at the same time, has found himself frustrated in his efforts to make the kind of impact that is needed to bring about real lasting change on the streets. Despite many pats on the back from authorities, funding has been hard to get, and the foundation is still without a building in which to base the foundation.  
It is with these goals in mind that Mark decided to make a comeback and to use his return to boxing as a platform to bring renewed attention and funding to his cause.

As expected, after such a long time out, Mark found starting his comeback was not a simple task, when the BBBC (British Boxing Board of Control) refused to grant him a license. This was eventually remedied, when Mark was given sanctioning by the GBA (German Boxing Association) and his comeback was finally able to take off on Dave Murphy’s ’Night of Champions’ show.

Prince’s first competitive opponent in fourteen years was 39-year-old Czech Jindrich Velecky 19-25(18), despite his losing record, is known for his toughness and durability. Fighting at cruiserweight, Prince entered the ring looking in remarkable condition for a 44-year-old boxer coming back from such a long absence. 

The first round saw both men boxing a bit cagily, with Prince getting his jab going and landing a couple of right hands, as the Velecky tried some right hands of his own, but found himself missing the more nimble Prince.  

In the second round, after starting the round with his swift jab, Prince opened up with a two-handed attack to the body and head, which put Velecky onto the defensive, as Prince gained total control of the bout. In the 3rd round, Prince kept the Czech on the end of his jab, and firing right hands to the body.  Midway through the round, Velecky landed a right to Prince’s face, but got a two-fisted rebuke for his temerity.

Prince started the 4th round stalking the now defensive-minded Cezch, pot shotting with his right hands to head and body, while keeping up a steady barrage of jabs. It was clear now that Prince’s punches were hurting the Czech, who was now hardly landing any punches of his own. The end, when it came, was sudden, as Prince, after landing a few jabs to the head, connected with a right that sent Velecky staggering into the ropes, and prompted referee Micky Vann to step in, and halt the contest.  Much to Velecky’s evident annoyance.

It was an emotional victory for Prince, who gave a powerful speech to the audience afterwards, about his motivations for coming back to the ring. Overall, it was an impressive performance for Prince, against a man, who is often beaten, but is not often stopped. How far Prince can go with his comeback remains to be seen and there will certainly be harder tests for him in the future. However, judging by the large crowd in attendance, he has already reached his goal of bringing more attention to the Kiyan Prince foundation.  

The hall was packed and the crowd was heard, from the first bell, right up to Mark’s victorious finish. The profound meaning of this fight to Mark was evident in the moments after his win, when he literally jumped around the ring with elation, and emotion. Many members of the crowd seemed almost as emotional as Mark himself, at what he had just done. 

After the audience had settled down, Mark gave a moving speech about his son and the reasons why he had returned to the ring, not for the material glory, but to try to make a difference in ways, which will transcend simply the sport of boxing.
Mark may have a long journey ahead of him, in order to take the Kiyan Prince Foundation to where he wants it to be, but judging by the impact that he had on Friday night, he has the ability to make people sit up and take notice, all he needs is to be granted is a platform on which to stand. 

Mark Prince’s fight was the culmination of a busy and entertaining fight card.

The night opened with a light-middleweight contest between Nick Klappart 17-1(11kos) and Suleyman Dag 10-46(5kos). This fight turned out to be something of a drubbing for the diminutive Dag, who looked as if he belonged in a different weight division to Klappart. Despite showing admirable heart and toughness, Dag was picked off almost at will by Klappart, was bleeding, and battered by the time his corner mercifully threw in the towel, after a brutal 4th round, which had seen Dag ship some heavy punches. 

At light welterweight, Antonio Counihan 1-0 made his professional debut against Robin Deakin 1-50, and won via a 4 rounds point’s decision. Counihan showed talent in this his first real test at 135. After scoring two knockdowns in the opening stanza, Counihan outboxed, and out-punched the brave Deakin for the point’s verdict.
Counihan, who has already built up quite a fan base, judging by the amount of spectators, who were singing his name as the contest started. If he continues his career in this manner, then Counihan could be one to watch in the future.

Also making his professional debut at light middleweight, Shiya Ozgul 1-0, out-pointed Michal Vosyka 1-5-1 over 4 rounds. In a lively encounter, Ozgul showed a crowd-pleasing style.

The first women’s fight of the night featured super-bantamweights, Marianne Marston 2-0 (2kos) against debutant Katalena Lazar. Unfortunately, it was an unhappy debut for Lazar, as she was dropped by a body shot almost immediately, and after beating the count, was swiftly dropped by another shot in the same place, and this time counted out at 67 seconds of the 1st round.

The second women’s contest of the night featured, Jennifer Retzke 13-1-1(9kos) taking on Angel Mckenzie 4-30, for the vacant GBC light-middleweight championship. After a busy contest that went the scheduled 10 rounds, Mckenzie seemed unlucky not to get the point’s verdict.  The fight had seen Mckenzie bustling forward and throwing punches, while Retzke fought mainly off the back foot, using a good jab, and movement. In a fight where many of the rounds could have gone either way, Mckenzie seemed to have done enough by virtue of her aggression and landing the more punches, despite the fact that Retzke was landing the more solid and correct shots.

In what was the fight, of the night in terms of competitive action, Iain Weaver 3-0(ko1) out-pointed Michelino Di Mari 2-1-1 over 6 rounds, in what was a battle of unbeaten super-featherweights. Both men went toe-to-toe for much of the fight and treated the crowd to some good exchanges. However, it was Weaver who edged the rounds with his better accuracy and his jab, and at the end of the six rounds, he was a worthy winner of a great fight, which deserves a rematch.

The Kiyan Prince Foundation is a non-profit organization and if you would like to contribute to Mark Prince’s campaign to raise awareness, give opportunities to young people, educate, create programs to inspire, motivate,  to mentor, and so much more, please contact the foundation and be part of great solution to violence.   Please visit to discover what you can do to make a difference!

If you want to watch Prince's return to boxing the video is available here:

Film from SecondsOut
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and  
twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wladimir Klitschko Aiming to Punish Povetkin

By Peter Silkov

On Saturday Wladimir Klitschko 60-3(51kos) steps into the ring with Alexander Povetkin 26-0(18kos) at the Olimpiyskiy, Moscow, Russia, to defend his WBA, IBF, IBO, WBO world heavyweight titles.  Historically in boxing a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world has always been one of  the sports most important occasions, a time in which even those most fickle of boxing followers will look up, and take notice.

Today that is not quite the case, world heavyweight title fights are a bitter sweet occasion for many boxing fans today.

This will be Wladimir’s 25th world title fight, and the 16th consecutive defence of his WBO belt since he regained it way back in 2005.  Even by today’s multi title standards Wladimirs world title tally is a formidable resume.

The only other active heavyweight who comes close to Wladimirs achievements and ability in the ring is his older brother Vitali, who holds the WBC title, the only belt not to be owned by Wladimir.  But here lies the Klitchenko’s problem, so absolute have they become in their dual rule of the heavyweight division, that they have been accused in many quarters as having killed off all interest in the heavyweight division.   In some senses this is true, as between them the Klitschko’s have decimated a whole era of heavyweight challengers and pretend champions, until quite simply there is nothing left untouched by them. 

Once considered the inferior fighter of the two brothers, Wladimir rebounded from devastating stoppage defeats to Corrie Sanders in 2003 (which ended his first world championship reign) and Lamon Brewster in 2004, to remodel his style to such an extent that he has been unbeaten ever since.  Under the guidance of the late legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, Wladimir tightened his defence, and developed his jab to such an extent that he is able to win fights with that alone.  Using his height and reach, speed and athleticism, to its fullest Wladimir has become a boxer who fully fulfils his nickname ’Dr Steelhammer’ as he dissects his opponents with the clinical efficiency of a surgeon.  In many ways, Wladimir can be seen as Stewards masterpiece, as he has developed from being a fatally flawed boxer, on the verge of retirement, to now being considered the premier fighter of his era, and eclipsing his older brother Vitali.   

It is cruelly ironic that with his success has come the criticism of Wladimir being too good, and too dominating of his opponents.  Part of the problem is the technical approach which Wladimir takes in his fights, the ability to break down his opponents with his jab, while allowing his opponent little chance to land anything of substance upon him.  This approach has served him very well in the past 10 years, so well in fact that he has seemed pretty much unbeatable.  At the same time however this has rendered many of Wladimirs world title defences one way processions of him dissecting his way to victory. 

For a long time now boxing fans have wanted to see the Klitschko’s tested, something that neither brother has really been for the past decade.  But unfortunately for both brothers, their challengers have been largely limited.  The heavyweight division today has one of the most limited talent pools ever seen in its history. 

This is something which neither of the Klitschko’s is responsible for or has profited from either.  The truth is that both brothers have missed out on the kind of acclaim and huge paydays which showdowns against genuinely dangerous challengers would have granted them.

But at the same time it is worth remembering that the Klitschko’s fight to regularly packed arena’s in their adopted country, Germany.  While America has become largely ambivalent to the two brothers, Europe holds both men in much higher esteem. 

It is also undeniable that both Klitschko’s would be formidable fighters in any heavyweight era, with their power, technique and athleticism making them a difficult opponent for just about anyone.

In stepping in the ring against Povetkin this Saturday, Wladimir will be facing one of his most accomplished challengers.  The Russian born Povetkin is unbeaten and this showdown with Wladimir has been years in the making.  For those who believe Heavyweight boxing is dead, a look at the attention that this showdown is gaining in Russia may make some change their mind.

Certainly in Russia this is being seen as a huge occasion, with two Eastern European fighters meeting to contest the greatest prize in sport.  It is no coincidence that Wladimir will be getting his largest ever purse for this defence of his title, something around 17 million dollars, while Povetkin will take about 6 million.
Like Wladimir, the Russian is a former Olympic Goldmedelist, winning the super heavyweight title in the 2004 games, while Wladimir won Gold in the same division in 1996.

Povetkin is a well schooled boxer, but he has never faced anyone approaching the ability of Klitschko, and the question is does he have the depth of talent and resources to really pose a danger to ‘Dr Steelhammer’.

Since turning professional Povetkin has been brought along carefully, building up his record upon mainly fringe contenders and faded ex-champions Chris Byrd, and Hasim Rahman, both of whom were a long way past their best by the time they fought Povetkin.  For the past two years Povetkin has held what is known as the ’regular’ WBA world heavyweight title, which is basically a clever way for the world boxing bodies to earn a little more money by having more than one ’champion’ of their own.

Despite this the ’title’ has allowed Povetkin to build up his record and gain more experience as a professional.  On Saturday he will finally be let off the leash and let loose against ’Dr Steelhammer’.  The suspicion with Povetkin is that despite his amateur pedigree, like so many before him, he will find himself woefully out of his depth against Wladimir.

Povetkin is a good all round fighter, but does not excel particularly at any one thing.
He will be giving size, weight, reach, speed, power and skill away to Klitschko.  The reach in particular is likely to be a big problem for the Russian, with Wladimir holding a huge 6 inch advantage in this area alone. 

During the run up to this fight there has been the curious development of the Povetkin camp inviting Britain’s Dereck Chisora to fly out and be part of team Povetkin on Saturday night.  It has even been suggested that Chisora will be chosen by Povetkin’s management to  be their witness in Wladimir’s dressing room on fight night, and to oversee the wrapping of the champions hands for them.  This is all designed to try and disrupt the concentration of the Wladimir in the final hours before fight time, as the animosity between both Klitshcho brothers and Chisora (who lost on points to Vitali early last year) is well known. 

Perhaps Povetkin’s camp are hoping that using the presence of the erratic Chisora will disrupt the concentration of Wladimir, or even provoke him into entering the fight with a more aggressive attitude than usual.  It may well be that Povetkin’s only hope of victory will be that an overly aggressive Wladimir comes forward on the attack and leaves himself more open than usual.  This in light of  the champions still perceived fragility, would seem to be the Russian’s main chance of victory.

Interestingly Wladimir has said himself that he see’s this fight as one of his biggest challenges, and that he wants to respond to it by winning with a knockout.

The truth is that if Povetkin has really riled up ’Dr Steelhammer’ the consequences are likely to result in an even quicker and more painful night for the Russian challenger.  Klitschko is experienced and wise enough to be able to use any anger he may feel in this fight as extra motivation, rather than a negative distraction.

This looks like being another notch on Wladimir Klitshcko’s belt, as he continues to build up one of the most impressive and underrated legacies in the history of the heavyweight division.

Therefore, one man’s dream sparkles for a moment, then flickers and dies. We watch it fade away before us, and then wonder whose dream it will be next time. Chances are we wont have long to wait.

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and     

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail