Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Gary Russell Jr. Says a Rematch With Lomachenko is Personal

image

By Thomas Gerbasi

Gary Russell Jr. may be the most patient man in boxing. So it was no surprise that he didn’t get rattled when the second defense of his WBC featherweight title against Oscar Escandon was postponed from March 11 to May 20 due to an injury suffered by the challenger.

But that cool could also apply to the career and life of the 28-year-old southpaw.

“It was the way we were brought up,” Russell said. “I was taught that patience isn’t the ability to wait; it’s what you do while you’re waiting. That’s the difference. So we just stay busy, we stay on our grind and we stay focused.”

Unfortunately, Russell has had plenty of time to stay busy outside of training camps and fights, having fought only three times since the lone loss of his career to Vasyl Lomachenko in June 2014. But these days, Russell isn’t worried about what happened in the past; he’s firmly focused on today and the future.

“Everything in life has to take its course,” he said. “I can’t focus on something that I’m not in control of. All I can do is focus on the things that I am and that’s me maintaining the WBC featherweight world title, being the best in the division, and God willing, we get through this guy and anything from here on forth will be a unification bout. If it’s not a unification bout, then I’m moving up in weight. I need to see whoever has the WBC title in the next weight class. It’s just that simple.”

Sounds like “Mr.” Russell is a man with a plan.

“Of course,” he laughs. “My career in this sport is almost up. I’ve got maybe two more years in it.”

Two years? Sounds like a harsh and abrupt goodbye from one of the sport’s top talents, but Russell has never followed the path most choose. That may have hurt him in the court of public opinion, but he’s done things his way. If that make him different from his peers, so be it.

“I always felt that way,” he said. “I feel like it’s in my DNA, it’s in my lineage. I’m the type of individual that I don’t care what the situation is, I’ll find my way through it and work my way through it. I might not excel in any other sport and might not be great in it, but I’ll catch on quick. I’ll learn quick and be very decent at it. That’s in anything that I do. So I definitely look at myself as much different than a lot of individuals, but I feel as though my family in general are different.”

russell-lomachenko

So when applied to the boxing business and an apparent early exit strategy, Russell doesn’t back down. But make no mistake about it, he has plenty of lofty goals to hit before he goes.

“As an athlete, I’ve accomplished everything that I could possibly accomplish so far,” he said. “But there are definitely a couple things that I want to do. I would love to unify these titles against a couple of these guys before my career is over. I would love to fight Lomachenko twice because after I beat him the first time I gotta do it again. If everything goes to plan, that will be the conclusion to my career. If not, then I understand and I’m pleased with the way that my career has gone. We’ve gained a decent amount of financial revenue thus far and I’m pleased. But we’re ready to move forward. We want to challenge these guys who are supposed to be the best in the division.”

At featherweight, the big fight would be against Leo Santa Cruz, though matchups with Abner Mares, Lee Selby or Oscar Valdez also fit the unification bill. But from a purist standpoint, a rematch with Lomachenko at 130 pounds is the biggest one in Russell’s eyes, especially given Lomachenko’s elevation to near-mythic status in the two-plus years since their first bout. The Maryland product has watched it all from afar.

“You can’t take anything away from what he (Lomachenko) accomplished in his amateur career, then he became professional and he lost to Salido,” Russell said. “He has the name as a professional based upon the fight that he won against Gary Russell Jr. I’m glad that they are magnifying him the way that they are, so when I break my foot off in him these two times when we do get our opportunity, of if we do, the accomplishment will be that much greater.”

It’s times like these when the cool cracks and the fiery competitor in Russell comes out, and that’s always fun to see. It also makes the prospect of Lomachenko-Russell II or III even more interesting, but there has been more talk of Lomachenko moving up in weight than staying at 130 to possibly take on Russell again.

“To me, stuff like that doesn’t matter,” he said. “In my amateur career, I had over 200 amateur fights and I lost 11. I remember all these guys that I lost to and I made it my personal business to compete against these guys later on down the line and follow through, overcome and conquer. So it (a Lomachenko rematch) is something personal. This isn’t something for the fans or the media; this is something that I’m gonna do just for Gary Russell Jr.”

It’s a fight that needs to be made but, at the moment, the key in the whole equation is the man in the ring with Russell on May 20. So while Escandon may be the forgotten man in this conversation, the champion has not lost sight of his challenger.

“First of all, I believe I’m a step ahead of anyone that I’m in the ring with,” he said. “But what fighter shouldn’t have that type of mentality or attitude? We’re fighters, we’re gladiators, we’re competitors. We’re supposed to think that way. With this guy, it’s boxing. Anything can happen. When you have an individual training six to eight weeks for no one other than you, that’s a very dangerous opponent. I don’t give a damn who he is. All it takes is one shot with these little eight-ounce gloves on. Stuff happens. So how do I stay up for a person? By reminding myself of that. People work hard, mistakes happen, and we’ve got to keep grinding. We’re doing this for our family, we’re doing it for our loved ones.”

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Derranged on 05-11-2017

[QUOTE=TheCell8;17662101]GRJ vs. Rigo, winner gets Loma. That's a fight that should be discussed. I know GRJ would be down, I doubt Rigo would.[/QUOTE] Wow what a snoozer that would be. GRJ would throw 100 punches per round and miss with…

Comment by Derranged on 05-11-2017

[QUOTE=The Tribe;17662059]Maybe he had an off night? I don't think the fight was nearly as one sided as people made out.[/QUOTE] Exactly. He claimed he over-trained and I believe him. I think its obvious that Loma knows he gets schooled…

Comment by Derranged on 05-11-2017

GRJ has been too inactive and hasn't even moved up to 130 yet. I don't see it happening and I'm not even so sure there is much demand for a rematch either. Of course GRJ wants it because its the…

Comment by j.razor on 05-11-2017

[QUOTE=g27region;17659885]Oh, Salido's grandson is talking, still salty. It wasn't Lomachenko who beat you, it was that sauna. You'd still beat Lomachenko 99 times out of 100. And 98 out of 100 after rematch He has to get more active and…

Comment by Mukuro on 05-11-2017

[QUOTE=TheCell8;17662101]GRJ vs. Rigo, winner gets Loma. That's a fight that should be discussed. I know GRJ would be down, I doubt Rigo would.[/QUOTE] I agree on both counts. Great matchup, don't think Rigo would do it. [QUOTE=turnedup;17662147]I recall the general…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (57)
Top Headlines Felix Verdejo Ring Return Targeted For January, Says Manager Promoter: I Want To Match Andrade Against Elite at 160 - ASAP! Schaefer: If U.S. Networks Aren't Interested in WBSS, So Be It Dorticos: All Gassiev Did Was Beat 'Old' Opponent in Wlodarczyk Photos: Ryota Murata Gets Revenge, Stops Hassan N'Dam Denis Lebedev: I Think Yunier Dorticos Will Beat Murat Gassiev Maliek, Mikhail and Michael Jr. Montgomery Get KO Wins Juho Haapoja Loses EU Title, Announces His Retirement Jezreel Corrales: I Was Winning on All 3 Cards, I Want a Rematch! Demetrius Andrade Vacates WBA Belt - Focused on Murata, GGG Ryota Murata: I'll Try My Best To Beat Gennady Golovkin! Photos: Alberto Machado Bombs Jezreel Corrales For WBA Title Dorticos: I Want To Destroy Gassiev, He Will Face a Real Man! Photos: Murat Gassiev, Yunier Dorticos - Go Face To Face! Schaefer: I Learned From The Mistakes of The Super Six Tourney Anthony Joshua: I Asked For Dillian Whyte After Pulev Withdrew Murata Dominant in Rematch, Makes N’Dam Quit After 7th Round Photos: Murat Gassiev Blasts Out Krzysztof Wlodarczyk in Three Photos: Ryan Burnett Beats Zhakiyanov To Unify WBA, IBF Belts Photos: Josh Warrington Takes Out Ceylan, Earns Lee Selby Shot Sakio Bika, Tim Tszyu Pick Up Solid Wins in Sydney Bouts Mock vs. Chudinov Deal in Place For November 25 Andrade: I Did Very Well in 160 Debut, I'll Fight Anybody! Karim Mayfield Decisons Miguel Dumas in San Francisco Gassiev Sees Joshua, Wilder in His Future: I'll Unify, Then Move Up! N'Dam vs. Murata - CompuBox Reflects on First Fight Stats Why Malignaggi Should Quiet Down. And Why He Won't. Machado: He Hurt Me a Few Times, But I Got The Punch I Needed Hassan N'Dam vs. Ryota Murata II: Pre-Fight Report Card Maciej Sulecki: I Want Jermell Charlo Next, I Want The Title Shot Alberto Machado Gets Off The Floor, Knocks Jezreel Corrales Out Jezreel Corrales-Alberto Machado - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Demetrius Andrade Makes 160 Debut, Dominates Alantez Fox Carlos Jimenez Knocks Out Pedro Campa in Shocker Sharif Bogere Decisions Rodriguez Over Ten Rounds in Las Vegas Gassiev Crushes Wlodarczyk in Three, Will Face Dorticos Next Gassiev vs. Wlodarczyk - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Culcay Hurts Resilient Sulecki, But Loses Unanimous Decision Hearn is Firm: I Want Wilder-Whyte Next, Never 50-50 For Joshua! Jason Moloney, Andrew Moloney Win Big in Melbourne
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement