Rances Barthelemy has not forgotten his dream of becoming the first Cuban boxer to become a world champion in three divisions.
That goal, however, is put to a difficult test on July 30, when he faces Gary Antuanne Russell, a rising star within the Premier Boxing Champions stable.
This Showtime televised clash between the two-time champion and the younger brother of Gary Russell Jr. will be part of the undercard of the event where Danny “Swift” Garcia will make his super welterweight debut against José Benavidez Jr. at the Barclays Center in New York
“My obligation is to redeem myself,” Barthelemy said to George Ebro. “I had a very bitter taste in my mouth after my most recent fight, and I would like to thank Showtime for giving me this opportunity to prove that I am still a factor.”
Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) has knocked out all of his opponents and in his last fight in February the 25-year-old became the first boxer to beat former champion Viktor Postol inside the distance. Some observers regard him as one of boxing's future stars.
Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) has won two in a row since going to a draw with Robert Easter in 2019, but at 36, the next fight is a watershed opportunity.
"A loss for Russell will send him spiraling down the rankings. But a win will bring me one step closer to securing another world title shot. I'm still hungry for glory,'' added Barthelemy.
"Right now, the first order of business is to redeem myself, as I said before. And the second is to become the first Cuban champion in three different divisions. That's my obsession, which some nights doesn't allow me to sleep. First things first, I have to focus on the July 30 to achieve what I long for.''
Barthelemy has never been knocked out and his only loss was a twelve-round decision loss to Kiryl Relikh in 2018, but many now consider it to be another step on the way up for Russell Jr, who will have his brother Gary as his head trainer. in the corner.