Report: Russell-Diaz Headed to Maryland, Not Montreal, on May 19

By Keith Idec

The featherweight title fight between Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr. is still on for May 19.

It is not, however, headed to Montreal, as previously reported. According to an story Friday, Russell will make a mandatory defense of his WBC 126-pound championship against Diaz at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

Russell is a native of nearby Capitol Heights, Maryland, and made the last defense of his title at MGM National Harbor nearly 11 months ago. reported Tuesday that Russell-Diaz would take place May 19 at Bell Centre in Montreal, on the undercard of the Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack light heavyweight title fight.


Instead, it appears as if Russell-Diaz will headline its own card and open Showtime’s split-site doubleheader. The site for the Stevenson-Jack fight hasn’t been officially announced because Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter, is negotiating an agreement with Eleider Alvarez, the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s WBC light heavyweight title, to allow the Stevenson-Jack fight to happen May 19.

The Colombian-born, Quebec-based Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) has been the No. 1 challenger for Stevenson’s title since November 2015. Sweden’s Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs), a former super middleweight and light heavyweight champ, is an optional opponent for Quebec’s Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs).

As for the 29-year-old Russell (28-1, 17 KOs), he’ll fight for the first time since stopping Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) in the seventh round May 20 at MGM National Harbor. The 2008 Olympian has boxed only twice since he beat Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez (65-10, 54 KOs) by fourth-round technical knockout to win the WBC featherweight title in March 2015.

The 25-year-old Diaz (26-0, 14 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from Downey, California, knocked out Mexican veteran Victor Terrazas (38-5-2, 21 KOs) in the third round of his most recent fight, 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 7not8 on 04-13-2018

I like both of these guys and hate to pick but they're both there to be hit. If I had to choose I may lean towards GRJ even tho it'll be 364 days since his last fight when he steps…

Comment by Santa_ on 04-13-2018

Good move. This is a main event fight :boxing:

Comment by Bronx2245 on 04-13-2018

Let's Go! Treat him just like Escandon! Hopefully this is a typical Showtime stacked card, and not just the Russell Family Reunion!

Comment by JRB123 on 04-13-2018

Guess I'll be in attendance for this card then as I was for the Escandon fight

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 04-13-2018

[QUOTE=kidbazooka;18668238]Hmmm looks like there trying to give Russell that hometown advantage. Jojo is gonna have to really whoop cuz he isn’t getting any close decision.[/QUOTE] Naw, they were going to fight in Montreal on the Stevenson vs Jack undercard. But…

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