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Bradley-Provodnikov: “Desert Storm” returns to the ring on Saturday on HBO

HBO Sports’ flagship boxing series returns with an intriguing doubleheader headlined by the return of Timothy Bradley Jr. in a welterweight title fight when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR. VS. RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV AND JESSIE VARGAS VS. WALE OMOTOSO is seen SATURDAY, MARCH 16 at 10:15 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Cal., exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino. Other HBO playdates: March 17 (10:30 a.m.) and 18 (11:30 p.m.) HBO2 playdates: March 17 (4:45 p.m.) and 19 (11:30 p.m.)

In the 12-round main event, undefeated Timothy Bradley Jr. (29-0, 12 KOs), a lifelong resident of Palm Springs, Cal., defends his world welterweight title against Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs). Bradley soared through the junior welterweight ranks, defeating all challengers, and scored a controversial split-decision victory over superstar Manny Pacquiao on June 9, 2012. Now the engaging and confident 29-year-old makes his first title defense at 147 pounds.

Born and raised in Beryozovo, Russia, the battle-tested Provodnikov is known for his aggressive, come-forward style. For his HBO debut, the 29-year-old will have Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner.

In the opening bout, undefeated welterweights Jessie Vargas (21-0, 9 KOs) and Wale Omotoso (23-0, 19 KOs) make their HBO debuts in a ten-round contest. Las Vegas resident Vargas, 23, looks to continue his quick ascent in the pro ranks. Omotoso, 27, is a native of Nigeria who trained in Australia before beginning his pro career in America in 2011.

The special “Road to Rios-Alvarado II,” setting the stage for the highly anticipated March 30 rematch of junior welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado on HBO, debuts immediately following the doubleheader (12:15-12:30 a.m. ET/PT).

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