“We had a great training camp,” Gary Russell Jr. said ahead of this weekend’s bout. “Everything has been perfect, no excuses, no cutting corners. We’re 120 percent ready for this fight. We can’t wait be able to call ourself the new WBC World Champion.”
Gary Russell Jr. challenges world champion Jhonny Gonzalez for the WBC World featherweight title on Saturday at the The Pearl At Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The fight will be broadcast live on Showtime Championship Boxing at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“We take every fight serious,” 26-year-old Russell said on a recent media conference call. “You take no one for granted. We definitely said, oh, this is a dangerous fight taking with Jhonny Gonzalez, but we feel as though what we bring to the table will be superior in the end.”
Southpaw Russell (25-1, with 14 KOs) enters the ring having outpointed Christopher Martin in December of last year. Previous to that bout, Russell had suffered his first career-defeat at the hands of featherweight phenom Vasyl Lomachenko.
Despite hard-hitting Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KOs) coming off five consecutive wins since being upset by Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2012, Russell does not see the possibility of the March 28 fight against Gonzalez as being a repeat of his loss to Lomachenko.
“They’re two very different fighters,” Washington, D.C. native Russell said. “Lomachenko has a little bit more hand speed than Jhonny Gonzalez. Gonzalez is more of a puncher. Jhonny Gonzalez is more of a dangerous fighter than Lomachenko just because of his punching ability and just him being a seasoned professional, being able to get all these rounds in as a professional.”
The 33-year-old Gonzalez was last in action stopping veteran Jorge Arce. Prior to the Arce bout, Gonzalez had dispatched undefeated warrior Clive Atwell and poleaxed world champion Abner Mares to walk away with the WBC World featherweight belt that will be on the line Saturday.
While Russell brings speed, youth, and athleticism to the ring, the up-and-comer has yet to prove himself against top-level opposition. Jhonny’s power, experience, and resilience will make him one of Russell’s toughest tests yet.
“I don’t think that he’s going to be able to deal with, once again, my speed,” Russell said. “I think we’ll be able to do it with my speed. He’s always been slow in the speed. Even though he’s been a puncher, a lot of punchers have to really sit to actually apply these punches efficiently. I think he lacks the ring generalship as far as the footwork goes that he would need — the foot quickness. And a lot of his shots are a little wide. So, I’ll be about to outpunch him and be able to punch him between his shots.”
In the co-feature, Jermell Charlo faces U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan. The main event will be followed by a rebroadcast of the Kell Brook and Jo Jo Dan fight.