Gary Russell Jr. got his second opportunity at a world title against Jhonny Gonzalez, who was defending his WBC title for the 3rd time, in the main event of Showtime Championship Boxing. Russell Jr. was just one fight removed from his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko heading into to tonight’s fight with Gonzalez, and that was a win against Christopher Martin by way of 10rd unanimous decision.
Russell dictated the early action with his speed and movement. Gonzalez was accommodating as Russell tried finding his distance, never trying to close the distance very much.
The hand speed was certainly what separated the two fighters and was the most physically apparent distinction, but Russell’s footwork was something to be appreciated, and it was quite possibly what helped magnify the hand speed advantage.
Gonzalez tried closing the distance after the initial couple of rounds. However, despite landing some body shots, Gonzalez couldn’t get enough going, nor could he keep Russell close enough.
Russell knocked down Gonzalez at the end of the 3rd round, but the hard-nosed Mexican made his way to his feet.
It didn’t appear that Gonzalez was all that injured, but Russell had the momentum and continued to press in the 4th. Russell Jr. knocked Gonzalez down with a quick shot in the 4th, and it seemed as though the end was near as Gonzalez found it difficult to keep his legs under him.
Moments later, Russell closed the show with a flurry made up of extremely fast and methodical combinations.
For Russell Jr., the second time was the charm and he walks away with the WBC featherweight title.
Charlo def Martirosyan UD10 (Junior Middleweight):
In the evening’s co-feature, Jermell Charlo and Vanes Martirosyan fought a closely contested battle. Both fighters tried to steal momentum when they could, while Charlo remained the more composed fighter in the ring.
In the end, Charlo was able to squeak by with the close unanimous decision win as the judges’ scores read 97-93 and 96-94 twice.