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Joseph Diaz Has No Excuses: Gary Russell a Tremendous Fighter

At MGM National Harbor in Maryland, Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17 KOs) defeated mandatory challenger Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs). 
 
Russell won his fight via unanimous decision, 115-113 and 117-111 twice, to retain his WBC featherweight world title.
 
It was a tactical and hard fought battle of two former U.S. Olympians, the 29-year-old hometown favorite used his hand speed, quickness and relentless attack to overwhelm Diaz Jr., the previously undefeated top-ranked contender.

russell-diaz-fight (25)
 
Russell Jr.'s game plan to dictate the pace and establish the jab was clear, throwing a career-high 587 jabs throughout the 12-round battle.

While the number of punches landed were close (199-192 in favor of Russell Jr.), Russell Jr.'s output trumped Diaz Jr.'s accuracy as the champion's career-high 992 punches thrown were the most ever for him in a CompuBox tracked fight. Diaz Jr. was committed to attacking the body of Russell Jr., but he was unable to break the champion down, who injured his right hand in the third round.
 
Diaz Jr. showed heart and youthful enthusiasm, closing the fight with a strong final round but ultimately, he lacked the creative, diversified attack needed to truly trouble Russell Jr.

The now once-beaten fighter has promised to come back even stronger after suffering his first defeat.
 
"The game plan was to break him down with the body shots and start attacking him more in the later rounds," said the South El Monte, Calif. native. "But I started attacking him too late and didn't pick it up until the 8th or 9th round. Gary Russell Jr. is a tremendous fighter and he did a great job keeping me at bay."
 
"This will just make me a hungrier fighter. I hope I got the respect of a lot of fight fans. I wanted to become champion against the best featherweight fighter in the world. Tonight wasn't my night but I'm going to bounce back harder and I'll be champion soon."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by LOCOMEX89 on 05-21-2018

[QUOTE=slimPickings;18789996]No body let anybody off the hook. The better man won. His class showed when it mattered ..going down the stretch. Some times we have to accept reality. Jo Jo's best was just not good enough..... for Gary. He can…

Comment by Hmabshir on 05-21-2018

[QUOTE=kidaguilar;18789025]Not setting up your punches and only using your jab sporadically isn't gonna cut it. That body work was great but after the 7th round Jojo lost the motivation to win the fight.[/QUOTE] Also how flat footed he was. He…

Comment by techliam on 05-21-2018

[QUOTE=chrisJS;18789003]He's a class act. He's going to learn from this. Hopefully he gets back into the ring again over the summer and keeps working. He'll be a champion soon. He went after the hardest fighter in the division and had…

Comment by slimPickings on 05-21-2018

[QUOTE=LOCOMEX89;18789579]I second this. His father should have been trying to get a rise out of Jo Jo. The fight was very close through the first 7 then from 8 to 11 [B]Diaz let Russell Jr. off the hook. [/B] His…

Comment by LA_2_Vegas on 05-20-2018

Good fight for both I thought. Thought Diaz might be able to pull it off with his good timing but Russell's nice jab really took command, kept Diaz at home for some long stretches. And without being able to bring…

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