CARSON, Calif. – On the heels of scoring his deepest knockout to date, Gary Antuanne Russell is interested in next pursuing his most significant opponent.

The hit list is more than a year old, with the hope of beginning with Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner. A proper first step was taken by Russell, as the 2016 U.S. Olympian from Capitol Heights, Maryland one-upped the former four-division champion in a one-sided stoppage of Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago after six rounds.

Russell battered Santiago (14-1-1, 10KOs) throughout their Showtime televised affair this past Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The bout came just three months after Santiago dropped a widely disputed 12-round decision to Broner, whereas Russell pummeled the Boricua at will.  

“Adrien Broner couldn’t do what I did,” Russell told after the fight. “I got him out in six, Broner couldn’t get him out of there. I want him next”

The fight was Russell’s first since February 2020, along with the deepest he’s had to go in his pro career. The 24-year-old rising prospect had never been past four rounds prior to Saturday, but made it look effortless in taking out Santiago in six. Eager to make up for lost time, the plan is to now return to the ring as soon as possible and begin to line up the names that have long resided on his hit list.

“I’d love to fight on Deontay Wilder’s next card,” Russell told, referring to the former heavyweight titlist’s upcoming third fight with lineal champion Tyson Fury which is due to take place July 24. “I don’t know who it would be against, but I do know that I want to fight Broner.

“I’ve been looking at some other guys as well. I want to fight Robert Easter Jr., that other dude from England (Scotland’s Josh Taylor, the reigning undisputed junior welterweight champion), and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis now that he’s moving up and down in weight.”

Of the names mentioned, Baltimore’s Davis would represent the biggest attraction especially in the Baltimore-D.C. area where the two have enjoyed a growing rivalry. That said, a crossroads fight with Broner seems like the most natural course of progression.

“Adrien Broner has been a household name for a long time,” notes Gary Russell Jr., Gary Antuanne’s older brother and reigning WBC featherweight champ. “A lot of people look up to him as a fighter and respect him as a fighter.

“The fact is that he couldn’t get him out of there, and some people even thought this guy beat him. My younger brother pretty much destroyed him. It speaks volumes.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox