DMV-area boxer Gary Russell Jr. represented in warrior-like fashion Saturday, successfully defending his WBC featherweight title against Oscar Escandon with a 7th-round TKO in front of a home crowd of more than 2,400 at the MGM National Harbor.
Russell started out fast, and he ended the fight fast as well, outclassing Escandon with his superior quickness and hand speed. The third round would prove to be the turning point in the match as Russell floored Escandon, and it was essentially over from there.
“I fought a tough competitor,” said Russell, who was also well ahead on the scorecards by the fight’s end. “I knew Escandon wanted to come and bring his best. I knew he was going to come forward. I was ready for him. We are warriors.”
Escandon (25-3) made the fight interesting for a few rounds but was no match for Russell’s quick hands. In the rout, Russell landed 198 of 508 punches, with 180 being power punches.
The Colombian struggled mightily as he only landed 20 percent of his punches throughout the fight, 110 of 558 overall.
“I knew that Gary was going to go fast from the first to the fifth round and it was part of my strategy to let him do that and get tired. It didn’t work, unfortunately,” Escandon said.
Russell, who improved his record to 28-1, is already looking ahead to his next bout, stating his desire for a rematch with Vasyl Lomachenko, who handed him his lone professional loss in 2014.
“I want to do it for myself,” Russell said. “And I want to do it twice. I’ll knock him out the first time and then he’ll want me to fight him again.”
It was a big night for the Russell family, as the fighter’s two brothers, Gary Antonio Russell and Gary Antuanne Russell, also picked up wins on the card — all on their father Gary Sr.’s birthday.
“I’m ecstatic,” the patriarch said. “I’m really happy. I got three wins. Three stoppages. It’s my birthday. I’m 15 minutes from home and I can go home and relax.”