By Gary “Digital” Williams
Photo: Mary Ann Owen
Undefeated Capitol Heights, MD featherweight “Mr.” Gary Russell, Jr. recently held an open workout in front of family, friends and the media in Capitol Heights in preparation for Saturday, June 21 when he will face Vasyl Lomachenko for the vacant WBO Featherweight championship at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. As the days wind closer to the nationally-televised (Showtime) contest, Russell (24-0, 14 KO’s) seems to be confident that his experience in the pro ranks might be the big edge he needs to win the title.
“You can have a good amateur pedigree but it is still a learning process [in the pros],” Russell told Fightnews. “I’ve gone from being 8-0, 10-0 and you see me now at 24-0, it’s a transformation. The rounds I’ve put in as a professional take its course. I’m more comfortable in the ring. You see me knowing how to slow the pace down after eight rounds, nine rounds. How do you put away a guy after you hurt him? This takes experience.”
“With Lomachenko, he has experience in four-round fights. He doesn’t know how to slow the pace down in a 10-round fight, a high-intensity fight. You can only familiarize yourself with how to do that with experience.”
The open workout doubled as a celebration of the Russell Family. In May, Russell’s younger brother Gary Antuanne, won the National Golden Gloves championship in Las Vegas. Antuanne Russell became the fourth member of the Russell Family to win a National Golden Gloves title following Gary, Jr. (2005), Gary Allen (2010) and Gary Antonio (2013). This is a feat that no other family of boxers has accomplished in the history of the National Golden Gloves. All four brothers are trained by their father, Gary Russell, Sr.
As Gary Jr. prepares for this world championship opportunity, improving the family legacy seems to be an added incentive.
“This shows my father’s pedigree as a trainer,” Russell said. “He didn’t work with boxers who started boxing [somewhere else] and he got them from another coach. He built us from the ground up. He put his own blood, sweat and tears into this. He invested a lot of his time into this. After making history in the National Golden Gloves, what better way to finish the year than by winning a world championship.”
The Gary Russell, Jr.-Vasyl Lomachenko WBO Featherweight title bout will be part of a Showtime Boxing tripleheader on Saturday, June 21 from the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. Headlining the card will be former world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero taking on Yoshihiro Kamegai. In another bout, former world champ Devon Alexander battles Jesus Soto Karass.