By Ryan Burton
Undefeated featherweight contender Gary Russell Jr. (21-0) faces Vyacheslav Gusev (20-2) later tonight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The fight will be aired on Showtime as the co-featured bout supporting the lightweight title clash between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere. BoxingScene caught up with Russell a few days ago at his media workout to discuss his upcoming fight and other topics.
The Maryland native admits that he hasn't seen a lot of tape on his opponent but said that the Russian is an underrated fighter and that he doesn't fight in a traditional European style.
"I have seen a little bit of footage on him. He is actually a pretty decent fighter. There isn't a lot of footage on him. He doesn't have the typical European style. He doesn't come straight forward. He tries to box a little bit. He is a solid fighter," said Russell.
In regards to his future Russell said that he is focused on his upcoming fight. He did however say that he feels that he is only a couple fights away from being ready for his first title shot.
"I think I am two fights away. I won't ever over look anyone. Anyone has the potential to pull an upset in a fight and that is where some fighters go wrong. I am thinking two more fights after this fight and then I will be ready to go for the title. We had made a plan to get me to 21 or 22 fights and then go for a title so we are right on track," Russell revealed.
Russell is a student of the game and gave us his opinion on two upcoming fights that will have major implications in both the junior featherweight and featherweight division.
"I honestly think that Ponce De Leon will get him. Mares is a smaller guy. Ponce De Leon is bigger and stronger. I think that he should beat him," opined Russell before giving his take on the April 13th Nonito Donaire versus Guillermo Rigondeaux clash.
"That is a good one. I can honestly say that I think Nonito Donaire brings more to the table than Rigondeaux. The reason why I say that is because me and Rigondeaux competed for (amateur) world championships. He is a southpaw. He is really skilled but he is a one-handed fighter. All of his power comes from his left hand. Where as Nonito is more even handed. I definitely would give him the upper hand but how he takes a punch from Rigondeaux will also be a factor. That is going to be a very interesting fight to watch," he continued.
The 24-year-old also said that he hopes to be busier in 2013 after a cancellation marred 2012 campaign. Russell had more than his share of fights cancelled or postponed due to injuries and suspensions of main event fighters of cards he was scheduled to fight on. As a result he only fought twice in 2012 after fighting six times in 2011.
"I want to get at least four fights in. If it was up to me after this fight I would get a big step up name to prep me for the fight after that which would be a title shot and then I would want to defend my title later this year," Russell told Boxingscene.
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