Provodnikov said that he wanted to learn English. Provodnikov was translated to have said, "I think boxing saved my life", as part of a translation of a statement Provodnikov made in response to an interviewer's question about what career he would have chosen if he was not a boxer.
Ruslan Mikhailovich Provodnikov was born in Beryozovo, a small village in western Siberia to an ethnic Russian father and an ethnic Mansi mother, but identifies himself as Mansi. Provodnikov said that he use to fight as a child, so his dad took him to a boxing trainer when he was ten years old to box. He would regularly make a 1-day trip to train at a gym that was something closer to what a professional boxing gym should be. As an amateur he won 130 of 150 fights. He was discovered in Ekaterinburg by his current promoters and managers, who brought him to the U.S.
Provodnikov said that he enjoyed playing soccer and playing basketball.
Provodnikov said that he wanted to provide for his son and give his son options in life. Provodnikov said that he was having his son grow up in the same place where he grew up, and he said that he wanted his son to experience the way he lived. Provodnikov said that he wanted his son to play sports and watch less TV and use the internet less.
Provodnikov said that he enjoyed eating raw meat such as raw moose liver and raw fish, and he said that he believed that eating meat made him strong.
Provodnikov fought several times on ESPN 2's Friday Night Fights and developed a reputation for being an exciting, come forward, pressure fighter. He scored a decision win over Demarcus Corley and lost a controversial decision to Mauricio Herrera.
Provodnikov lost a close unanimous decision to Timothy Bradley on March 16, 2013, for the WBO welterweight championship. Provodnikov was considered an easily beatable opponent for Bradley, who was looking for a confidence booster after beating Manny Pacquiao in what was deemed one of boxing's worst decisions. Bradley came out on the attack early, fighting in an uncharacteristically aggressive fashion. Provodnikov made him pay, however, tagging him with hard shots in the first round, and staggering him in the second. Bradley said after the fight that he was concussed by a shot Provodnikov hit him with in the second round. Bradley boxed more conservatively as the fight wore on, winning most of the middle rounds. In the last round, Provodnikov badly hurt Bradley again but Bradley took a knee with just seconds remaining, beating the count and hanging on to win the fight on points. Bradley was impressed by Provodnikov's power and will, saying "he's going to be a world champion someday". The fight was named "2013 Fight of the Year" by Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
CompuBox Stats (General)
Moving back down to junior welterweight to fight Mike Alvarado for the WBO Junior welterweight belt. Provodnikov defeated Mike Alvarado by 10th-round stoppage on October 19, 2013, at the FirstBank Center in Denver, Colorado. Provodnikov was ahead on all three scorecards and had knocked Alvarado down twice in the eighth round. Alvarado then elected to not come out for the eleventh round.
Provodnikov faced little-known American Chris Algieri in the first defense of his title on June 14, 2014, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Provodnikov connected with a left hook in the first round that knocked Algieri down and formed a large swelling under the challenger's right eye. Despite scoring two knockdowns in the opening frame, Algieri's footwork and boxing skills prevented Provodnikov from getting into range to land his shots. Provodnikov would go on to lose a controversial split decision.
After dispatching of veteran Jose Luis Castillo in five rounds, in his home country. Negotiations began for a bout with fellow power puncher, Argentine Lucas Matthysse, there was a large amount of hype surrounding the fight coming in. It took place at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York on the 18th of April, and lived up to the hype as the two fighters went toe to toe from the opening bell in a fight of the year candidate. A headbutt caused a deep cut above Ruslan's left eye early in the fight and it begun to distract him straight away. Matthysse utilized his jab and superior boxing skills for most of the bout. Ruslan once again proved to have a granite chin as he took the hardest shots of Matthysse, who is considered to be the hardest puncher in the division and pound for pound one of the hardest punchers in the world. After being outboxed the first few rounds, Ruslan came back in the latter half of the bout, and begun to break down Matthysse, hurting him severely in the 11th round but failed to capitalize, or achieve enough early on and went on to lose a Majority decision. Matthysse broke his right hand in the fight. Provodnikov had a terribly swollen face afterwards, and a deep gash on his eye from the headbutt, he also had black urine (rhabdomyolysis), a result of being hit in his kidneys by the power puncher Matthysse.