Russian prospect Ruslan Provodnikov rose to 16-0 (11) with a ninth round stoppage at of Emmanuel 'The Drunken Master' Augustus on a televised ESPN2 card broadcast live from Laredo, Texas.
Augustus, making his 31st, and perhaps final, appearance as an ESPN opponent, took the bout on four days notice after Frankie Figueroa pulled out with an injury.
Provodnikov came forward as a tough plodder, landing jab combinations and looking for openings, but not chasing Augustus. Meanwhile, Augustus stayed on the move from left to right, and right to left, trying to survive while also trying to counter with his left over the Provodnikov right.
Augustus kept with his game plan, winning the second round. Rounds one, three and four appeared close. Provodnikov decked Augustus with a right hand that got through in the fifth, and Augustus was lucky to survive the round.
Provodnikov kept up the pressure in rounds six, seven and eight. In the ninth, Augustus appeared tired and stopped moving, providing an easy target. Augustus got decked again from a flurry in corner along the ropes, got up, but got decked again, this time down and out of gas, prompting the stoppage at 1:50 of the round.
Augustus, 35, has held a share of the IBF, IBO, IBA and WBC light welterweight continental titles at one time or another in his 76 bout career, and missed on the NABA and WBO Inter-Continental titles on this opportunity. This was his first bout since August 21, 2009, a loss in Australia to undefeated Ole Omotoso.
Inactivity and lack of sufficient preparation, as well as the long trip from Australia to Texas, may have hurt Augustus. The great journeyman may have hit the end of the road. Augustus is now 38-32-8 (20).
Lightweight prospect Ji-Hoon 'Volcano' Kim of South Korea rose to 21-5 (18), making it thirteen straight wins with a first round knockout of limited Ameth Diaz, 27-10 (19), from Panama City.
Kim and Diaz started competitively, trading power shots, when a funny thing happened. Kim immediately noticed a flaw in Diaz' technique. Diaz leans his head to the right like the late great Sandy Saddler. Unfortunately for Diaz, he doesn’t move his head, while Saddler did.
A vicious overhand right to the leaned head ended the night of Diaz, who got up but was out, prompting the stoppage-which was perhaps premature. However, Diaz' flaw in technique could have caused serious injury if the bout was allowed to continue, prompting consideration of the big differences between a 'B' and an 'A' fighter.
In a mild light welterweight upset, Orlando Gomez, 2-1, outpointed Jose Martinez, 5-1 (3). Martinez was coming off a four year layoff, and the rust showed, with Gomez repeatedly landing jab combinations and beating him to the punch, Scoring: 40-36, 39-37 and 38-38 majority decision for Gomez.
In the walkout bout, the fight of the night turned to be two super featherweights in their professional debuts, but it was still a rematch. Ramsey Luna won a four round unanimous decision over Rene Luna. Ramsey had won an amateur bout over Rene in the fall of 2009.
The outcome was the same, with Rene down for a flash knockdown in the first. Ramsey was landing combinations and landing more often, but Rene went toe-to-to with Ramsey for all four rounds and turned the fight into an action packed thriller, to the delight and cheers of the crowd at Laredo Energy Arena. Scores: 40-35, 39-36 and 39-35 for Ramsey Luna. If this bout is any indicator, both fighters have a promising future.