Gary Russell vs. Joseph Diaz Headed to Stevenson-Jack Card

By Keith Idec

A pair of American Olympians are headed to Canada for their featherweight title fight.

Joseph Diaz Jr. confirmed in a Tweet sent out Tuesday night that his WBC-mandated title shot against its 126-pound champion, Gary Russell Jr., has been scheduled for May 19 in Montreal. Showtime will televise Russell-Diaz as part of a two-bout broadcast headlined by WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs), who’ll defend his 175-pound championship against Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs).

Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez revealed Friday that he came to a verbal agreement with promoter Tom Brown, who represented Russell in negotiations on behalf of adviser Al Haymon, which avoided a purse bid. Golden Boy promotes Diaz.


Gomez mentioned May 19 as one of the possible dates for the Russell-Diaz fight to, which first reported Tuesday night that Russell-Diaz would be part of the Stevenson-Jack card.

Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza initially planned to televise a split-site doubleheader May 19. In addition to the Stevenson-Jack broadcast from Montreal, Showtime’s offering would’ve included a fight featuring WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The unbeaten Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) hadn’t secured an opponent for what was supposed to be a tune-up fight following more than a one-year layoff, largely caused by elbow surgery in April 2017. Thurman reportedly suffered a hand injury during training recently and the Barclays Center card was canceled.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Russell (28-1, 17 KOs) will end a one-year layoff when he defends his title against the undefeated Diaz.

The Capitol Heights, Maryland, native has fought just twice since he stopped Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez (65-10, 54 KOs) in the fourth round to win the WBC 126-pound championship in March 2015. Russell, a 2008 Olympian, hasn’t fought since May 20, when he beat Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) by seventh-round technical knockout to make the second defense of his title.

The 25-year-old Diaz (26-0, 14 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from Downey, California, most recently knocked out Mexican veteran Victor Terrazas (38-5-2, 21 KOs) in the third round February 22 in Indio, California.

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 DuckAdonis on 04-11-2018

Damn good fight !

Comment by Cigar on 04-11-2018

Great co-main event! Much better than the crappy undercard just announced for Loma - Linares.

Comment by nycsmooth on 04-11-2018

excellent semi-final but you have to go with Russell for his experience even with the inactivity..

Comment by JohnP2 on 04-11-2018

[QUOTE=Superbee;18660137]Might as well be Alvarez - Stevenson ... Alvarez team is throwing the veto on the Stevenson-Jack fight unless they have a written guaranty from the WBC they will be next and will have another substantial step-aside (1M) as well…

Comment by IMDAZED on 04-11-2018

[QUOTE=Bronx2245;18660569]Showtime is the boxing network of 2018, followed by ESPN, and lastly HBO! Showtime produces quality "cards," where others give us quality "fights!"[/QUOTE] They’ve been doing this for years now.

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