Gary Russell: I'll Be Disappointed With Myself If Diaz Goes Distance

By Keith Idec

Each of Gary Russell Jr.’s three WBC featherweight title fights have resulted in technical-knockout victories.

The confident champion will be disappointed if he doesn’t extend that streak against Joseph Diaz Jr. on Saturday night. Diaz promised to “walk down” Russell during their scheduled 12-round, 126-pound title bout, but Russell feels the undefeated Diaz won’t be able to take his power.

“ I feel as though that I am the best fighter in the division, hands down,” Russell told Showtime’s Steve Farhood following their weigh-in Friday afternoon. “Jo Jo Diaz just stated that. I feel as though I shouldn’t be going the distance with anyone in my division. If I do, I’ll be disappointed with myself. I don’t plan on going the distance. We ain’t going the distance. We ain’t going 12.”

russell-diaz-weights (7)

Russell (28-1, 17 KOs), a southpaw from Capitol Heights, Maryland, will end almost exactly a one-year layoff when he enters the ring with Diaz (26-0, 14 KOs), his mandatory challenger. His most recent title defense came last May 20, when Russell conquered Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) by seventh-round technical knockout at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

The 2008 Olympian, who has lost only a majority decision to three-division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko, will return to MGM National Harbor to battle Diaz in a fight Showtime will broadcast as the opener of a split-site doubleheader. Once Russell-Diaz concludes, Showtime’s telecast will shift to Toronto, where WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) will defend his title against Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) in the main event at Air Canada Centre.

The 29-year-old Russell, meanwhile, is approximately a 3-1 favorite to defeat Diaz, a southpaw from Downey, California.

The 25-year-old Diaz, a 2012 Olympian, has been much more active than Russell. Diaz has fought three times over the past 12 months, most recently February 22, when he knocked out Mexican veteran Victor Terrazas (38-5-2, 21 KOs) in the third round with a body shot.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by steeve steel on 05-20-2018

[QUOTE=kidbazooka;18785960]What you talking about? Russell is a Haymon fighter he’s protected just fine.[/QUOTE] I'm a little disappointed; you were suppose to post something about Diaz whipping Russel's ass... lol

Comment by nycsmooth on 05-19-2018

I would be very surprised if Gary loses this to a much overrated Diaz with a padded record...2 much hype given to the win he had over Viking Terrazas a completely shot fighter of Cancun boxing...

Comment by Disturbed on 05-19-2018

I got Russell by comfortable decision, I dont see him having too much trouble here. Probably gonna drop Diaz on the later rounds, wouldn't be surprised if he gets him finished on later rounds either

Comment by Shadoww.702 on 05-19-2018

TBE almost found out the hard way with that draw score after his one sided toying of CLENelo. [QUOTE=steeve steel;18785933]You definitely don't want to let it go to the scorecards against a Golden boy fighter...[/QUOTE]

Comment by TexasCowBoy on 05-19-2018

[QUOTE=kidbazooka;18785763]when is the last time Russell faced anyone good? Last I can remember was Loma and we see what happened there.[/QUOTE] Yeah, I remember gary Russell yelling like maria Sharapova by the end of the fight.....that was some funny stuff…

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