GARY Russell Jr began his first hometown fight night by manning his brothers’ corners.
He closed it with an apology for the near-melee created by super middleweight Andre Dirrell’s trainer in the co-featured bout.
In between, he made easy work of Oscar Escandon, stopping him in the seventh round to successfully defend his WBC featherweight title for the second time at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Maryland, America on Sunday.
“I knew Escandon wanted to come and bring his best,” Russell said. “I was ready for him.”
Earlier, Dirrell won the IBF interim super middleweight title by disqualification over Jose Uzcategui in a bout overshadowed by Dirrell trainer Leon Lawson Jr throwing a series of punches at Uzcategui following the fight.
“I want to apologise for the gladiators,” Russell said. “The Dirrell camp, sometimes emotions build up and take the best of us. Please forgive them.”
Uzcategui sent Dirrell to the canvas with a combination that referee Bill Clancy ruled came after the bell. Uzcategui led on two of three judges’ scorecards at the time, and was tied on the other.
Medical staff examined Dirrell, who eventually got to his feet and hugged Uzcategui and his camp. Moments later, Dirrell’s uncle and trainer Lawson attacked Uzcategui, who had to be restrained from retaliating and was eventually rushed out of the arena.
Local police are seeking Lawson for questioning. They were searching for Lawson after the fight, but he left the building. They do plan to arrest him on assault charges when he is finally found.
“I’m sorry for what my coach has done,” Dirrell said. “My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.”