The Week’s Boxing Schedule, Featuring Beibut Shumenov, Brandon Gonzales And Friday Night Fights

This weekend, Friday night is when everything is poppin’.

  • Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Mauricio Herrera, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. As I made clear earlier this week, I am very fond of this fight, as it pits two promoters’ prospects against one another in what should be a fun, action fight. That doesn’t happen very often. Granted, it probably happened out of necessity, as Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing, the respective promoters, don’t have a smörgåsbord of television dates to gorge upon. Nonetheless, it’s a rarity. Provodnikov, for all of his hype as a fearsome body puncher, was aiming upstairs so often that those listening to the ESPN commentary would have thought Teddy Atlas had just seen Michael Moorer, he was that frustrated. Headhunters sure are a lot of fun to watch though, and the Russian junior welterweight is a real hootenanny for three minutes every round. Herrera is the “B-side” of this bout, as he was flat out ripped off against Mike Anchondo on ShoBox, forcing him to take rebound bouts, culminating with an eight-round decision over Fight Night Club’s resident jobber Hector Alatorre. Time’s running out on him as a 30-year old prospect, but a win over Provodnikov could potentially get him ranked in a sanctioning body or two, and afford him another nice television spot. Whether Herrera tries to make this fight boring or not is irrelevant, because it won’t be. Provodnikov will not allow it, as he will continue coming forward and swinging for the fences, and Herrera isn’t quite nimble enough to play matador all night.
  • Demetrius Andrade vs. Manuel Herrera, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. Andrade’s promoter Artie Pelullo told me this that this would be the first of a potential six fights in 2011 for Andrade, so don’t expect this to be a taxing test for “Boo Boo.” As Birdman taught us, flirt with the hood rats, then pop models. Herrera is the hood rat, the models would theoretically be at a party Andrade would attend in and around November. The one knock on Andrade in the pros and in the amateurs is that he could be a bit more aggressive. As many fighters who are very sure of their skillset do, Andrade likes to wait and counter. Thus far, he’s found the openings with ease, but he could be creating them quicker with a bit of pressure. The faster he does that, the sooner we get to the main event.
  • Brandon Gonzales vs. Lester Gonzalez, Friday, TeleFutura, Fairfield Calif. Felíz año nuevo, Solo Boxeo! Late last year, Gonzales was in talks to face Canadian middleweight David Lemieux in the main event of Friday Night Fights. Although that means he’s a solid fighter worth a Friday night television spot, it also speaks to the fact that he may not have a tremendous amount of upside. Lemieux was undoubtedly the A-side of the talks, and Yvon Michel wasn’t exactly looking to endanger his blue chipper in his ESPN debut. Gonzales was even floored by Isiah McFadden (who?) last May, but has managed to compile a 13-0 record in his young career nonetheless. Gonzalez is a sluggish southpaw with a recent history of back problems, which will surely add to his woes. Gonzales, who was high up the US amateur program for a while, shouldn’t have much trouble with his opponent on Friday. If that holds true, he can hope for a fight like the proposed Lemieux bout, and hope to upset the apple cart.
  • Beibut Shumenov vs. William Joppy, Friday, Shymkent Kazakhstan. This fight is absolute rubbish, but it gets a pass because it was made on just two days’ notice. In a bizarre set of circumstances, Shumenov and his promoter Dan Goossen arrived in the fighter’s hometown (where the fight is being staged), and Jurgen Brahmer, who was set to wager his WBO light heavyweight title, had already left. Curiously, it appears Universum head Klaus-Peter Kohl had never left Germany at all, and is now visiting Brahmer in the hospital as he nurses an “acute gastrointestinal illness,” according to So instead, Shumenov will put his WBA 175-pound trinket on the line against Joppy, who was originally slated to fight on the undercard. A former middleweight titlist, Joppy is best remembered for one-sided losses to Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. Since his 160-pound heyday, the Washington, D.C. native has also lost to Lucian Bute in a bid for the IBF super middleweight title in 2008 and a completely shot Sebastien Demers earlier this year. Joppy will have to put on a little weight for the bout, most recently campaigning at 168. He has fought at light heavyweight three times however, defeating a Murderer’s Row of Jonathan Corn, Virgil McClendon and Etiana Whitaker, all by knockout. Again, all things considered, the fight is as good as extraordinarily short notice tilts get, and it is positive for boxing that Shumenov gets to fight in front of a sold-out crowd back home. He is one of few real hometown attractions anywhere in the sport. However, the Kazakh brawler has dominated faded names of the early 2000s before (Montell Griffin, Byron Mitchell), and fans with a heart will be rooting for Joppy’s well-being.
  • The Rest. Not much else. Cristian Esquivel fights Eduardo Garcia Saturday in a bantamweight eliminator and Noe Gonzalez fights Gustavo Magallanes Sunday for the super middleweight silver belt; both are WBC straps.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.