Tim Bradley and Brandon Rios announce November 7 battle

September 17, 2015

Los Angeles -- In what should be a real blood-and-guts brawl, Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley and Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, both of whom fought in Fights of the Year in 2013 and 2012, respectively, will collide for Bradley's WBO welterweight world championship crown on Saturday, November 7, at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center.

"I am excited to get back into the ring on November 7th against a very game and very dangerous Brandon Rios," said Bradley.  "I know that Rios is dedicated to giving the fans what they pay for and so am I. I guarantee you that the Thomas and Mack Center will once again deliver a great event."  

The undercard is also impressive, as the telecast will open with two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko defending his WBO featherweight world title against Top-10 world-rated contender Romulo Koasicha of Mexico.

These four warriors boast a combined record of 93-8-2 (51 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 90% with over half of their victories coming by way of knockout. Tickets are priced at $400, $250, $150, $100 and $50. The fight will be televised on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) is a skilled boxer, but also has a warrior's heart and determination.  As a result, he frequently gets lured into action-packed slugfests despite his average knockout power.
Perhaps as a way to force himself to stick with his speed and quickness advantages, Bradley has changed things up in his camp, replacing longtime trainer Joel Diaz with trainer and ESPN broadcaster Teddy Atlas.

"If I was going to come back to train a fighter, it was going to be one who had shown character in and out of the ring just like Tim Bradley," said Teddy Atlas, Bradley's new trainer.

At the fight's press conference in downtown Los Angeles this past Wednesday, Bradley reflected on his new opponent and his new trainer.

"We are moving now to Rios who is tough, rugged and dangerous," said Bradley.  "I know Rios is fired up.  I know this is a tough fight for me.  I need to stay focused and to choose when to battle.  I know Rios is a tough guy.  I am tough too.  And smarter.  I am confident with Teddy Atlas with me.  He has great boxing knowledge.  I want that knowledge.  We can do some damage together."

Bradley had an impressive run in 2013, and is looking to get back to that level again.  After getting a gift decision against Manny Pacquiao, Bradley then won a brutal 12-round decision over Ruslan Provodnikov despite suffering from a concussion throughout most of the fight.

Seven months later Bradley encored with another virtuoso performance in defeating three-division world champion and Mexican icon Juan Manuel Márquez on October 12, 2013, proving that Bradley is indeed one of boxing's elite pound for pound fighters.

He then suffered his first loss to Pacquiao in their rematch, and later had a controversial draw against former interim world champion Diego Chaves.  In his last fight on June 27, he rebounded with a decision victory over undefeated world champion Jessie Vargas, reclaiming the WBO welterweight belt.

As for the power-punching Rios (33-2-1, 23 KOs), not much has changed in his camp.  The former WBA lightweight champion still has trainer Robert Garcia and will be expected to employ his typical aggressive style on fight night.

"We've been looking for a big fight and at last we have it.  I'll be ready," Rios.

Rios' previous trek into the realm of boxing's pound-for-pound elite resulted in a blowout decision loss to superstar Manny Pacquiao.

Rios returned to the winner's circle however in 2014, winning a gritty, foul-filled battle against former interim world welterweight champion Diego Chaves, via a ninth-round disqualification. In his last fight, on January 24, Rios stopped Mike Alvarado in the sixth round of their triology's rubber match.

By taking on Bradley, Rios will be fighting an opponent not quite on Pacquiao's level, but highly talented nonetheless. 

"Bradley is no Pacquiao," said Rios.  "We all know that.  But Bradley will be the second-best fighter I have ever faced.  Jessie Vargas waited too long in his fight against Bradley.  Vargas let Bradley do what he wanted to do except for the final seconds of the fight.  I fought Alvarado earlier this year and was in the best shape of my life.  I have accomplished a lot in boxing.  Robert Garcia, my trainer, has stuck with me all the way."       

The undercard promises to be exciting simply because it features one of the sport's most talented rising stars in Lomachenko.

The greatest amateur boxer of his era, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) captured the vacant WBO featherweight title on June 21, 2014, winning a majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr.  It was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title.

Lomachenko's lone blemish occurred in his second professional bout when he challenged WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido, losing a split decision to the heavier Salido whose title had been stripped because he could not make the weight limit.

Koasicha (24-4, 14 KOs), from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, has won eight of his last 10 fights with five of those victories coming by way of knockout.  Koasicha is currently world-rated No. 8 by the WBO and No. 9 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).  

But make no mistake, it is the main event which really shapes up to be one of the better matchups of 2015.

"The battle between Bradley and Rios should be a real classic as both fighters give it their all in the ring.  Without a doubt this will be a candidate for the Fight of the Year," said  Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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