Banner Signs Five New Fighters


Banner Promotions president Art Pelullo has signed five fighters – IBO featherweight world champion Cristobal Cruz, and four prospects, Ruslan Provodnikov, Orlando Lora, Maxim Vlasov, and Ji-hoon Kim – to promotional contracts. Art said, “I think all of these boxers have a lot of talent and determination, and the potential to become world champions. I’m looking forward to working with all of them..”

IBO featherweight world champion Cristobal Cruz, 36-11-1 with 23 knockouts, of Tijuana, B.C., Mexico, who is co-promoted by Golden Gloves Promotions, is coming off a sensational win in his last fight on March 7.

After the fight,’s Graham Houston reported, “Toughness, tenacity and a CompuBox punch record for a 12-round fight carried Tijuana veteran Cristobal Cruz to a bitterly hard-fought majority decision win over highly regarded South African Thomas Mashaba in an upset on Friday Night Fights.

“This was a terrific fight, almost non-stop action. A clear underdog, Cruz fought with a winner’s attitude, going right at Mashaba and throwing punch after punch from all directions, body and head, around the sides and up through the middle.

“Back and forth they went, but Cruz was often having the last word, seeming to throw six or seven punches after getting hit by two or three.

“Fights such as this are great for boxing – 12 intense and exciting rounds, the issue in doubt to the very end, with a veteran journeyman gritting out a surprise win over a world-class fighter adding a feel-good factor.”

The four prospects will fight on the undercard of the Chris Byrd-Shaun George main event at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas on May 16:

Ruslan Provodnikov – 7-0 with 6 knockouts, of Ekaterinburg, Russia; 24 years old, 5’6” tall, 140 pounds. Ruslan, who is co-promoted by German Titov of Titov Box Promotion, is scheduled to open the May 16 ESPN show.

Maxim Vlasov – 11-0 with 3 knockouts, of Tolyatti, Russia; 21 years old, 6’3” tall, 168 pounds. Vlasov is co-promoted by Rinat Yusupov.

Orlando “Olimpico” Lora – 20-0-1 with 15 knockouts, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico; 27 years old, 5’10” tall, 140 pounds.

Ji-hoon Kim – 13-5 with 10 knockouts, of Goyang, Korea; 21 years old, 5’9” tall, 130 pounds.

Kim will fight Koba Gogoladze, 20-2 with 8 knockouts, in the co-featured bout. The opponents for Lora, Provodnikov, and Vlasov are to be announced.