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Ruslan Provodnikov to face UFC veteran Ali Bagautinov on July 23rd

Provodnikov retired from the sport in 2016

Russian boxer Povetkin wins WBO International heavyweight title bout against Ukraines Rudenko Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

No, the date is not a typo.

Former super lightweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov, out of action since a 2016 loss to John Molina Jr., announced on Russian social media site VKontakte that he’s set to box former UFC title challenger Ali Bagautinov two days from now on July 23rd. No details on rounds and such have been released, though the poster implies that it will air on Open FC Gorilla Fighting’s YouTube page.

“The Siberian Rocky” had previously received a “proposal” to return last year, but nothing ever came of it.

The 37-year-old Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KO) went from unknown to widely beloved thanks to a phenomenal 2013 war against Tim Bradley and subsequent mauling of Mike Alvarado for the WBO belt. He would alternate losses and wins for the remainder of his career, ultimately hanging up the gloves after a poor performance against the aforementioned Molina.

Bagautinov (21-7 MMA, 2-0 Boxing) won his first three UFC bouts to earn a crack at 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson, who rather thoroughly outclassed Bagautinov en route to a one-sided decision win. He would lose three of his next four before re-establishing himself on the Russian circuit, putting together a 7-1 run whose only blemish was a controversial decision against current UFC competitor Zhalgas Zhumagulov. He remains one of the better 125-pounders in the sport at age 36 and has dabbled in the sweet science, including a four-round decision win in November.

Everything about this is silly, but seeing as Provodnikov’s got a good thing going in politics and clearly isn’t doing this out of desperation, more power to him.

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