Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Stevenson: Gary Russell Ain't No Punk; I Don't Think He's Ducking Me

NEW YORK – If you push promotional and network affiliations aside, Gary Russell Jr.-Shakur Stevenson obviously is one of the most appealing fights that can be made within the featherweight division.

Neither fighter really has talked seriously about that 126-pound title unification fight happening, though.

The 31-year-old Russell (31-1, 18 KOs), who owns the WBC featherweight crown, is most interested in finally fighting Leo Santa Cruz. Boxing’s longest-reigning champion also would welcome a showdown with Gervonta Davis, even if it meant moving up two weight classes to get that fight.


Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) seem headed for a pay-per-view fight of their own whenever the boxing business resumes, which at least would leave Russell available for a fascinating fight versus Stevenson later this year. The 22-year-old Stevenson told recently that he would fight Russell, whom Stevenson admits he has admired during his rise through the amateur and professional ranks.

Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs), the WBO featherweight champion, doesn’t feel Russell is ducking him, despite that Russell isn’t talking about boxing him.

“Gary ain’t no punk,” Stevenson said. “He ain’t one of them fighters that’ll duck people. Gary know me a lot. We didn’t come up together. I came up under him, but I’ve been in his gym. I spar his brother all the time. Me and him have been in the same gym. Right after my world title fight, me and him was going back and forth, playing around with each other, talking about me and him fighting each other. I think he’s got a lot of respect for me, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. But if that’s the fight that the fans want, I think we’ll do it. I’ll fight anybody – I’ll say that.”

Nevertheless, Stevenson is much more likely to embrace another featherweight championship unification match. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist has repeatedly expressed interest in challenging IBF champ Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs) in Warrington’s hometown of Leeds, England.

Had Stevenson beaten Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) in his first title defense March 14 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, a deal for his fight with Warrington might’ve been made for them to square off sometime this summer. The Stevenson-Marriaga card was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will delay countless fights, including Stevenson-Warrington.

Regardless, Russell-Stevenson doesn’t appear to be a potential fight that’ll be impacted by this pandemic.

“We’ve got a friendship going,” Stevenson said. “He’s kind of like a big brother to me, so I don’t think he’s ducking me. I just think he’s not thinking about me and him as a fight that actually could happen.”

In his most recent action, Russell skillfully out-boxed previously undefeated Tugstsogt Nyambayar on February 8 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Russell beat Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KOs), his mandatory challenger, comfortably on all three scorecards (118-110, 117-111, 116-112) in a fight Showtime broadcast from PPL Center. 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by tokon on 03-27-2020

[QUOTE=KillaMane26;204817 One thing we have to be very appreciative is the hearts of these young guys! They have no problem calling anyone out and seem to be ready to fight anyone! [/QUOTE] Saying they'll fight anyone and actually doing it…

Comment by crisantonio917 on 03-27-2020

No shakur but you are a PUNK, mad soft..

Comment by MulaKO on 03-27-2020

[QUOTE=megh50;20482552]totally with you[/QUOTE] Great fight Just wish GRJ would fight more often

Comment by megh50 on 03-27-2020

[QUOTE=MulaKO;20482389]He didn’t outbox anything That was hard fought victory The scores don’t line up with the fight[/QUOTE] totally with you

Comment by MulaKO on 03-26-2020

[QUOTE=megh50;20482101]I beg to disagree, that was not a comfortable victory for Russel vs Tugstsogt Nyambayar. It was hard-fought, even though the scores appear wide[/QUOTE] He didn’t outbox anything That was hard fought victory The scores don’t line up with the…

Top Headlines
Barrios Dedicating Karl Fight To Late Travell Mazion 3 Months After Friend's Death Lee Selby, George Kambosos - Face-Off at Final Presser Savannah Marshall, Hannah Rankin - Face-Off at Final Presser Usyk, Chisora - Face-Off at Final Presser, Hug it Out LIVE STREAM: Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz - Final Press Conference LIVE STREAM: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. - Press Conference Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz Lands on Channel 5 in UK Subriel Matias' Manager Confident of Inching To World Title Shot in 2021 Tureano Johnson: When I Saw His Last Fight - I Knew I Could Beat Munguia! Gervonta Davis: I Cut Off Gamboa Fight When I Tried To Watch It; That Wasn't Me Mayweather: I Unretired vs. McGregor For A Quick Bank Robbery; Conor-Pacquiao Won't Be As Big The WBC's Latest Plan To Redraw Boxing History is Horribly Short-Sighted Jaime Munguia: We Are Ready To Fight Under Any Circumstance Paddy Donovan Aims To Win World Title Within Three Years Dave Allen: I'm Known For Being Durable - Lovejoy in Big Trouble! Andy Ruiz Will Bounce Back, Says Confident Trainer Naoya Inoue - The Run, In Progress Reynoso: Ryan Garcia-Teofimo Lopez Can Be Great Fight in Future Andrade on Hunt For New Opponent For Nov. 27 DAZN Bout Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales To Collide in Exhibition on January 15 Joseph Parker, Junior Fa - Announce New Date at Presser Chisora Vows War: I'm Prepared To Eat Leather, Can Usyk Say Same? Joseph Parker vs. Junior Fa Pushed Back To December 12 Regis Prograis' Daughter Could Be Born On Same Day He Fights Juan Heraldez Barrios vs. Karl, Magdaleno vs. Cruz - Face-Offs at Presser Regis Prograis, Juan Heraldez - Face-Off at Final Presser Yoan Pablo Hernandez To Continue Career, Back on November 7 Inoue: Images Of My Family, Son Got Me Through Trouble In 9th Round With Donaire LIVE STREAM: Davis vs. Santa Cruz Undercard - Final Press Conference Savannah Marshall Motivated By Family To Stun Rankin For Title Joshua Will Look To Get Exception From WBO To Face Fury in 2021 Tyson vs. Jones Lands Exclusive US, Canadian Digital PPV Rights With FITE; BT Sport in UK Regis Prograis: I Still Feel Like I'm The Best In The World At 140 Santa Cruz's Co-Trainer: Leo Will Be A Monster, Gervonta Will Have To Respect His Power Mayweather: A Lot Of People Don’t Know Tank’s Boxing Skills Better Than His Power DAZN To Launch In 200-Plus Markets 12/1; To Offer Garcia-Campbell In UK 12/5 Moloney: Inoue Fight Is A Dream, But Not The End Goal By Any Means Dave Allen Pays No Attention To Lovejoy's Record, Aims For Knockout Jaime Munguia, Tureano Johnson Arrive at Fantasy Springs Chavez: Canelo is Pound-For-Pound Best, But Crawford More Complete
Latest Forum Threads