MORE FROM MGM NATIONAL HARBOR: SCORECARDS & COMMENTS FROM RUSSELL JR, ESCANDON, BARTHELEMY, RELIKH, DIRRELL AND UZCATEGUI

 

GARY RUSSELL SR.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m really happy. I got three wins. Three stoppages. It’s my birthday. I’m 15 minutes from home and I can go home and relax.

“We prepared fully for Mr. Escandon. We knew he was going to do what he did – come forward. I don’t want to diminish or take anything away from Mr. Escandon. He really is a hard, rough fighter. Throughout the course of the fight, I instructed Gary to hit him with some good shots. Some hard shots. It is a brutal sport.”

 

GARY RUSSELL JR.

“First and foremost, I got to say happy birthday to my father. Secondly, I’d like to tell all the fans that came to support me: I love you all. Thank you.

“I want to apologize for the gladiators. The gladiators are warriors. The Dirrell camp, sometimes emotions build up and take the best of us. Please forgive them.

“I fought a tough competitor. I knew Escandon wanted to come and bring his best. I knew he was going to come forward. I was ready for him. We are warriors. 

“Lomachenko, that’s a no-brainer. I don’t want to do it for the fans or for the media, I  want to do it for myself. And I want to do it twice. I’ll knock him out the first time and then, he’ll want me to fight him again.

“I’d love to unify against all the other guys in the featherweight division. I’d like Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby, Oscar Valdez.”

 

OSCAR ESCANDON

“I was getting my rhythm going and I felt like Gary was getting tired. I didn’t see him coming with the big punch he threw at the end and that was it. I went down and was hoping to get a 10 count but the referee didn’t give it to me and he stopped the fight. 

“I knew that Gary was going to go fast from the first to the fifth round and it was part of my strategy to let him do that and get tired. It didn’t work unfortunately. 

“Now we need to go back to the drawing board to rest and see what my manager has planned for me.”

 

JOSE UZCATEGUI

“I felt very good. I was hurting him the entire fight. I felt like I could hurt him anytime I wanted. Nothing he hit me with hurt me. 

“I was throwing a three-punch combination and I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t mean to hit him. The third punch wasn’t that hard of a punch. I was surprised he stayed down.  

“He did the same thing against Abraham that he did against me tonight. He quit against me and he quit against him. I deserve to be the winner.” 

 

RANCES BARTHELEMY

“It feels great to be going forward. The 11-month layoff really took a toll on my body and I felt it in the ring.

“I knew it was a close fight but knew I should get a unanimous decision.

“Relikh was a hard hitter. He surprised me with a right hook in the 5th round and I hit the canvas, so I knew I had to be careful going forward. I knew I had lost that round and had to come back stronger.

“I took the 6th round to take a breather and then I came back to work the body. Once I knocked him down I saw that he was hurt and protecting himself upstairs a lot more so I knew I was going to have to be more strategic to come out victorious.”

 

KIRRILL RELIKH

“Of course I thought I won. Even TV [SHOWTIME’s Steve Farhood] thought I won. The referee did his job when he called it a knockdown in the fifth. I thought it was over.

“The two low blows definitely affected me. It takes the wind out of you. This is boxing not MMA.”

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MGM NATIONAL HARBOR: THE RUSSELL TRIO VICTORIOUS; BARTHELEMY SURVIVES SCARE; DIRRELL WINS DUBIOUS DECISION

Gary Russell oscar escondon

 

Story by: Robert Uzzell

 

There was plenty of action on Saturday night from the MGM National Harbor as Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs) defended his WBC World featherweight against Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs).

 

I thought Gary Russell did what he should have done, which was win. However, he needs to be much more active than he has been of late.  If you watch the fight closely, you see that Russell was hit with shots that a fighter of his talent should not allow from a guy a few levels lower.

 

Gary Russell has extremely fast hands. Everyone knows that to be true.  However, boxing is more than just hand speed.  You heard it here first- if Gary doesn’t stay more active and steps up to fight guys like Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton he loses.  I’m not even going to bring up the real fight he’s clamoring for, which is a rematch with Vasyl Lomachenko.  If he takes that based on what I saw Saturday night, he lose worse than he did the first time.

 

My recommendations is for Gary to try to fight 2 to 3 more times in 2017. At this point, I don’t think it will happen.  Gary seems to be lost in the mix.  I don’t think he is big enough or powerful enough to make a move up and make significant noise.  To be real, I’m torn on what he should do next.  I truly believe he’s being set up for a fall if he takes on anybody in the top 5 at this point.  We shall see.

 

The second Russell of the trio, Gary “Antonio” Russell moved to 8-0, 6 KOs as he walked through Jovany Fuentes (7-9, 6 KOs).  Russell scored knockdowns in the second and third.  A left hook on the temple ended Fuentes’s night.

 

Gary Antonio Russell:

“We capitalized on everything we worked on in the gym. We knew he favored his right hook so I would walk to it to try to get him to throw it and he wasn’t really doing it. I just knew I needed to touch and fire and that is exactly what I did.

 

“There was never any extra pressure because we didn’t magnify this fight just because it was at home. We treat every fight like a championship fight.

 

“The Russells are two for two, but personally I think we are already three for three…that’s what’s expected tonight.”

 

Gary Antuanne Russell, (1-0 1 KO) won his pro debut over Josh Ross (2-4-4). Russell cornered Ross against the ropes and landed a body shot to drop him. Ross took an eight count and got up. Russell jumped on him again and stopped him with what appeared to be a double right hook to the head.

 

Gary Antuanne:

“I listened, I followed instructions and it led me to a fast victory. I wish it would have lasted longer. I was looking forward to it being more exciting.

 

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so short. We trained and sparred for twelve rounds, as if I was a professional before my debut and that’s what I was prepared to do – go the distance. But I executed what my father told me to and I got that quick victory.”

 

In the televised opener, Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) won a 12-round unanimous decision over valiant Kiryl Relikh, (25-3, 16 KOs).  The first few rounds featured fantastic flurries from both guys and it was heating up to be the fight of the night.

 

Barthelemy landed what the referee deemed to be a low blow. After a timeout, the fighters were back to action and Relikh tried to take his anger out of Barthelemy.

 

Relikh went on the attack in the 5th round and shook Barthelemy badly and into the ropes.  The referee ruled a knockdown and Barthelemy finished the round on unsteady legs.  Relikh went in for the kill but couldn’t finish.

 

Barthelemy recovered in the next round and out boxed Relikh the rest of the way, scoring a body shot knockdown in the 8th round.

 

Barthelemy:

“It feels great to be going forward. The 11-month layoff really took a toll on my body and I felt it in the ring.

 

“I knew it was a close fight but knew I should get a unanimous decision.

 

“Relikh was a hard hitter. He surprised me with a right hook in the 5th round and I hit the canvas, so I knew I had to be careful going forward. I knew I had lost that round and had to come back stronger.

 

“I took the sixth round to take a breather and then I came back to work the body. Once I knocked him down, I saw that he was hurt and protecting himself upstairs a lot more so I knew I was going to have to be more strategic to come out victorious.”

 

Relikh:

“Of course I thought I won. Even TV thought I won. The referee did his job when he called it a knockdown in the fifth. I thought it was over.”

 

“The two low blows definitely affected me. It takes the wind out of you. This is boxing not MMA.”

 

The drama of the evening unfolded in the title eliminator between Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs) and Jose Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs).

 

Uzcategui came out blazing and had Dirrell reeling as early as the first round.  The tough as nails Uzcategui chased Dirrell and landed vicious shots everywhere he could on Dirrell.

 

In the middle rounds, both fighters began to exchange, with Uzcategui seemingly getting the best of it.

 

Then came the 8th round!

Continue reading

GARY RUSSELL JR. DEFEATS OSCAR ESCANDON IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD FROM MGM NATIONAL HARBOR, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

Gary Russell oscar escondon

GARY RUSSELL JR. DEFEATS OSCAR ESCANDON IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD FROM MGM NATIONAL HARBOR, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

Andre Dirrell Wins Via Disqualification Stoppage, Rances Barthelemy Earns Hard-Fought Decision Win

Gervonta Davis Stops Liam Walsh to Retain IBF Junior Lightweight Title from Copper Box Arena in London

 

Catch The Encore Presentation of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®

 on Monday, May 22 at 10 p.m. on SHO EXTREME

 

Click HERE For Photos

Photo Credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

Click HERE To Watch Gary Russell Jr.’s TKO

 

National Harbor (May 20) – From the MGM National Harbor “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr.,

(28-1, 17 KOs) had a successful homecoming in front of a nearly sold out crowd as he defended his WBC Featherweight World title with a seventh-round stoppage against the very tough, strong-willed Columbian Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.

 

Russell Jr. took control of the action from the outset, peppering the shorter Escandon at will and dropping him in the third.

 

However, the brave Escandon fought his way back into the fight in the fourth and fifth stanzas, but Russell stormed into the seventh, battering the hurt Escandon and dropping him early, causing referee Harvey Dock to stop the fight at the 0:59 mark of the round (Click HERE to watch the TKO).

 

About the victory, Russell Jr. said, “First and foremost, I want to say happy birthday to my father. Secondly, I’d like to tell all the fans that came to support me: I love you all. Thank you.

“I fought a tough competitor. I knew Escandon wanted to come and bring his best. I knew he was going to come forward. I was ready for him. We are warriors. 

“I want Lomachenko [next], that’s a no-brainer. I don’t want to do it for the fans or for the media, I want to do it for myself. And I want to do it twice. I’ll knock him out the first time and then, he’ll want me to fight him again.

“I’d love to unify against all the other guys in the featherweight division. I’d like Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby, Oscar Valdez.”

About the knockout loss, “I was getting my rhythm going and I felt like Gary was getting tired. I didn’t see him coming with the big punch he threw at the end and that was it. I went down and was hoping to get a 10 count, but the referee didn’t give it to me and he stopped the fight. 

 

“I knew that Gary was going to go fast from the first to the fifth round and it was part of my strategy to let him do that and get tired. It didn’t work unfortunately. 

“Now we need to go back to the drawing board to rest and see what my manager has planned for me.”

 

Said trainer and father Gary Russell Sr., “I’m ecstatic. I’m really happy. I got three wins. Three stoppages. It’s my birthday. I’m 15 minutes from home and I can go home and relax.

 

“We prepared fully for Mr. Escandon. We knew he was going to do what he did – come forward. I don’t want to diminish or take anything away from Mr. Escandon. He really is a hard, rough fighter. Throughout the course of the fight, I instructed Gary to hit him with some good shots. Some hard shots. It is a brutal sport.”

 

Co-featured on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING in a 12-round clash for the IBF Interim Super Middleweight Title, Flint, Michigan’s Andre Dirrell, (26-2, 16 KOs), was declared the winner after round eight as Jose Uzcategui, (26-2, 22 KOs) of Merida, Venezuela, was disqualified for a punch after the bell sounded to end the eighth round.

 

Uzcategui started fast, battering Dirrell from the opening round, cutting off the ring and slamming away with body and head shot through the first three rounds. Dirrell saw success starting in the fourth round, countering Uzcategui and scoring

well.

 

Over the next four rounds, the contenders traded even as the fight became more hotly contested. At the end of the eighth round, with Dirrell backed into a neutral corner, Uzcategui let loose with a three-punch combination, the last left hand hitting the southpaw after the bell as he fell to the combination.

 

Following a delay to allow medical personnel to attend to Dirrell, referee Bill Clancy declared that Uzcategui was disqualified with Dirrell being declared the winner.

 

Said referee Bill Clancy about his decision, “The bell rang to stop the round. The round was over and Andre [Dirrell] was knocked out with an illegal punch. So therefore, Dirrell will win this fight by disqualification.

 

“That’s a blatant foul. Earlier in the fight, I had warned Uzcategui. I warned him. Dirrell wins the fight, he was clearly unable to continue.”

 

About the ending, Dirrell said, “All I remember was him [Uzcategui] throwing a shot at me at the same time the bell rang. After that everything was blurry. I remember a shot and then all went fuzzy.

 

“I forgive Uzcategui. I forgive his camp. I don’t want to win a championship like this. I wanted to win fair and square. But I forgive him.

 

Following the decision, Dirrell’s trainer and uncle Leon Lawson punched Uzcategui in the corner, sparking a brief altercation in the ring that was quelled by MGM National Harbor security and local police.

 

“I’m sorry for what my coach has done. My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.

 

“I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back. I’m going to come back as soon as they let me.”

 

Stated a very disappointed Uzcategui, “I felt very good. I was hurting him the entire fight. I felt like I could hurt him anytime I wanted. Nothing he hit me with hurt me. 

 

“I was throwing a three-punch combination and I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t mean to hit him. The third punch wasn’t that hard of a punch. I was surprised he stayed down.  

 

“He did the same thing against Abraham that he did against me tonight. He quit against me and he quit against him. I deserve to be the winner.”

 

The live televised fights in The Theater kicked-off with two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) winning a 12-round unanimous decision over valiant Kiryl Relikh, (25-3, 16 KOs), of Baranovichi, Byelorussia. Scores in the WBA Super Lightweight eliminator were 116-110, 115-111 and 117-109.

 

The opening two rounds of the fight featured excellent action with both fighters attempting to impose their will.  In the third round Relikh suffered a low blow resulting in a two-minute delay, however, no point deduction was made by referee Kenny Chevalier. Following the low blow, the shorter Relikh became much more aggressive.

 

With the undefeated, blue-haired Barthelemy switching stances often in the fourth stanza, he was able to score at will against Relikh.

 

However, Relikh came out charging in the fifth, battering away against Barthelemy who was caught against the ropes and scoring a knockdown when the ropes held the Cuban up from a barrage of hard punches.

 

Recovering nicely in the sixth and seventh, Barthelemy badly hurt Relikh with a multitude of body shots from both hands. Continue reading

WEIGHTS & PHOTOS FROM MGM NATIONAL HARBOR!

Gary Russell oscar escondon

 

Gary Russell Jr vs Oscar Escandon is on!  Check out the photos from the weigh-ins today.

 

ALL photos in slideshow credited to NaKeela Taylor:  CBoxingInfo/W.A.N.T. TV

 

Gary Russell Jr 125.5 vs. Oscar Escandon 125.75

Andre Dirrell 167.5 vs. Jose Uzcategui 166.5

Rances Barthelemy 139.5 vs. Kiryl Relikh 139.5

 

 

IMG_4986

 

 

 

 

 

Featherweight World Championship Showdown Headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING This Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland

Gary Russell oscar escondonGary Russell oscar escondon2.jpg

Click HERE for Photos Tom Casino/SHOWTIME

 

NATIONAL HARBOR (May 18, 2017) – Featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. and top challenger Oscar Escandon went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they square-off in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING this Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

 

Also in attendance at Thursday’s press conference and competing in action on SHOWTIME were super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui, who battle for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship, plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy and former title challenger Kiryl Relikh, who meet in a 140-pound title eliminator. The telecast begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with Gervonta Davis putting his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh from Copper Box Arena in London.

 

Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.

 

Russell Jr. was joined by his brothers, 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell and unbeaten prospect Gary Antonio Russell, as the trio of brothers look to pick up a hat trick of victories in their hometown Saturday night and on the birthday of their father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr.

 

Here is what the participants had to say Thursday from MGM National Harbor:

 

GARY RUSSELL JR.

“I never magnify an event, even though it’s at home. The end objective is still the same. But I think it’s cool that everyone in our neighborhood has the opportunity to be in the arena and see what we do.

 

“I’m 100 percent physically and mentally ready for the challenge and I’m on top of everything I can be.

 

“When you get caught up in the hype, it’s a deficiency in yourself. You have to be able to focus on the objective over everything else.

 

“I believe in my ability but also the ability of my brothers. So I’m not nervous for them. I know what they’ve been taught. They conduct themselves like young men in and out of the ring.

 

“I want a unification bout after this. I’m ready for any of the other world champions. We can line them all up in the same night if you want. If I can’t get those fights, I’m going to move up in weight and bully around these bigger guys.

 

“I look at each fighter as their own individual. We don’t prepare the same way for every opponent. He’s a tough fighter who comes forward. He’s very physical and I expect him to be at his best on Saturday. It’s up to me to counteract what he does.

 

“I love this sport. I love what I do. I love being able to prepare for no one else, but the person across the ring and then dismantling him.

 

“We worked on versatility most. We believe in the sweet science. A lot of these guys just win because they’re stronger and faster. We want to be more technically sound too.”

 

OSCAR ESCANDON

“This is a very important fight for my career. This is going to elevate me to where I want to be and give me the platform to do anything in the sport. I’m very well prepared for this.

 

“I feel strong and healthy at 126-pounds. I’m focused on this fight Saturday night. I’ll fight anyone but right now I have to get past Gary Russell Jr.

 

“In my last fight I was the underdog. People counted me out. Same thing applies here. I’ve done the work and I’m confident that I’m going to win.

 

“I didn’t have complete training camps with my past trainers, but now I’m with Ruben Guerrero. I’m learning so much. You can look at me in my previous fights and you’ll see a vast improvement now.

 

“I want that green (WBC) belt a lot. Green is my favorite color. I want to be the best and to me, winning that title signifies that I am the best. To do that I have to beat the best, and that is Gary Russell Jr.

 

“I don’t like to talk much but I will say that I’m coming to bring this world title back to Colombia. I respect Gary but my mindset is that I’m taking this title home.”

 

ANDRE DIRRELL

“It’s been a long hard journey for me. But I’ve always managed to climb back on top. The hard work that I’ve put in will make Saturday night easy work.

 

“My opponent is a fantastic fighter. If anyone should be in line for a title it’s this guy. He has the the power and he has the skill. I just believe he’s up against a better and tougher opponent.

 

“I’m going to get in the ring and display all of my abilities. I’m very confident and ready. It’s time for Andre to get on top and stay on top.

 

“I’ve been out of the ring for a while but most importantly, I’ve stayed in the gym in training the whole time. I’ve kept positive mentally as well. Everything is going upward right now and I’m going to take advantage.

 

“Uzcategui has everything a world champion needs to get to that title, but he’s facing a more skilled competitor on May 20. He’s deserving of the opportunity and that’s why I trained so hard for this fight.

 

“The title means the world to me. We fight for the titles first. We’re all coming from the amateurs where we got trophies. My love will always be here with the sport until the day I retire.”

 

JOSE UZCATEGUI

“You won’t want to miss any of these fights on Saturday night. It’s a great card and I’m planning to steal the show.

 

“I like when my opponent talks a lot. None of the stuff my opponent says can help him in the ring. It’s just me, him and our fists.

 

“It’s a lot of responsibility to be the top contender for the belt. I have to make it clear that we deserve this so that I can move on to bigger and better things.

 

“People are going to get to see my power on display Saturday night, but also my other skills. I can do it all in the ring and I’m going to prove it.

 

“After this I want to take on James DeGale and Gilberto Ramirez. I’m coming to clean out this whole division and be undisputed. It starts on Saturday.”

 

RANCES BARTHELEMY

“I’m living a dream right now that I myself never in a million years imagined. Every time I get to speak with my mother in Cuba, I tell her of this dream that I am currently living and how it is still surreal to me. To be able to fight on these big cards in the U.S. after the long journey, after all the setbacks, I could not be any more grateful.

 

“Being a world champion in two different weight divisions is something still unreal to me after people doubted whether I would even become a world champion one day. But this journey does not stop here for me. I have the urge to keep on going, make history for my people, and fight the big names in boxing.

 

“Everyone in my team supports and motivates each other because we know we as Cubans have to work twice as hard as everybody else. There is an unfair representation of Cuban boxers among the press and fans here in America. We are misconstrued as being boring fighters therefore we are determined to erase that stigma and prove to everyone that we can brawl and put on a good show just as much as we can box.

 

“I have been working on some new and different things to add to my arsenal this training camp. My whole team has been incredible and pushed me every day.

 

“Don’t miss this fight on Saturday night. It’s going to be eventful and exciting. I’m coming to get a spectacular win.” Continue reading

Oscar Escandon Training Camp Quotes & Photos

Press Release

 

For Immediate Release

 

Oscar Escandon Training Camp Quotes & Photos 

Top Featherweight Challenger Battles Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. in Main Event Showdown Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland on SHOWTIME

 
Click HERE for Photos from Team Escandon/
Premier Boxing Champions

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. (May 15, 2017) – Top 126-pound challenger Oscar Escandon shares his thoughts on training camp and more ahead of his first world title opportunity against WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. Saturday, May 20 on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

 

Coverage on SHOWTIME begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and features super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui battling for the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a 140-pound world title eliminator. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis puts his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh.

 
Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.
 
Here is what Escandon had to say from Las Vegas before he wraps camp and heads east to headline at MGM National Harbor in Maryland:
 
On his recent training camp:
 
“Training camp started off in Gilroy, California where we got a lot of good sparring in the Bay Area.  But then we moved camp to Las Vegas where we are training in high elevation.  We are running up at Mt. Charleston where the elevation is 8400 feet.  All in all, it has been a fantastic camp.”
 
On fighting in his first main event on SHOWTIME:
 
“It’s a dream come true to be fighting on SHOWTIME, especially in the main event for a world title. I believe the fans watching will enjoy my fighting style. I always bring excitement to the ring. This will be a fan-friendly fight to watch.”
 
On facing his opponent, champion Gary Russell Jr:
 
“Gary Russell Jr. is one of the best fighters in the division. I know it’s not going to be an easy task to defeat him but I’m confident in my ability to come out victorious. I will dig deep and impose my will on him.”
 
On training with head coach Ruben Guerrero:
 
“Together Ruben and I get along very well. He’s always there for me when I need him.  We are doing everything to get better and we’ll be ready to go. We have a nice game plan that we will display on fight night.”
 
On what a victory will do for his career:
 
“This is the biggest fight of my career and a win will lead to bigger and better things, like unification bouts. To capture the WBC world title will be an honor for my team and my people of Colombia. I need to win this fight and capture that WBC title. I can see myself in major fights with a victory.”
 
 
#          #          #
ABOUT RUSSELL JR. vs. ESCANDON

Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon is a featherweight world championship showdown that headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, May 20 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Televised coverage begins on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and features super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a WBA 140-pound world title eliminator against Kiryl Relikh. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis puts his IBF Jr. Lightweight Title on the line against Liam Walsh.

Prediction: Gary Russell Jr vs. Oscar Escandon by Robert Uzzell

Story:  Robert Uzzell

Gary Russell Jr

Oscar Escandon   

Record:      27-1, 16 KO  25-2, 17 KO
Height:      5’4 1/2″  5’1 1/2″
Reach:      61″

     unlisted

Weight:      126 lbs

     126 lbs

Age:      28      26
Stance:      Southpaw      Orthodox

Hometown:

  Capitol Heights, Maryland

Ibague, Columbia

KO%

57%

  63%

Russell Jr’s Strengths: Exceptional hand speed is the first thing that comes to mind. He punches in combinations and has some of the fastest hands in boxing. He’s very explosive and has good punching power. He can counter well with either hand, and maintains a fast pace consistently.

Escandon’s Strengths: He has power in both hands and knows how to cut off the ring when stalking the opponent. He has a very good uppercut and can use the entire ring to his advantage, if necessary. Unlike many Columbian fighters, he’s well-travelled enough not to be thrown by the DMV crowd that’ll be there rooting for Russell, Jr. As short as Escandon is, I believe he has the reach advantage over Russell.

Russell Jr’s weaknesses: Gary sometimes stands to trade when he should be giving angles and range. Gary also uses the same cadence with his output, instead of mixing it up. His footwork is decent, but not the best. Sometimes Gary leaves himself open for counter, even though his hands are so fast, it’ll take a great counterpuncher to connect with something big. Inactivity is an issue with Gary.

Escandon’s weaknesses: Oscar doesn’t have the fastest hands in the world. When he does use hand-speed, he punches too wide. Oscar is also only 5 foot 1, so height is a challenge for him. Sometimes his punch carries late in fights, but in others it seems to fade much earlier. He doesn’t smoothly transfer from defense to offense.

The Pick: I think this fight is going to be action packed. It will be a tale of two game plans. I think Ruben Guerrero’s plan is for Oscar Escandon to attack Gary Russell Jr. I think Gary Russell Jr’s plan is to knock Escandon out.

Escandon has fought southpaws before, so this isn’t new to him. He got a gift victory over southpaw Tyson Cave. He also scored a KO victory of lefty Julian Aristule. A big win for him, on the road against another southpaw, was a KO over Jesus Cuellar. He also most recently stopped Robinson Castellanos, who upset Yuriorkis Gamboa on May 5.

I think Guerrero is training Escandon to attack in this fight. Much like he trained his son Robert Guerrero to press Andre Berto. He’s going to come forward and make it a rough fight for Russell Jr.

During the media workout last week, I noticed Gary Russell Jr working his upper body a lot. I think he’s going for strength so he can be able to handle Oscar *and future opponents) on the inside. I also think he’s building his body like that because he’s going for the knockout in this fight. Yes’ you’ll see the usual flash, but I think the plan is to sit down on his shots and put something behind them.

Somebody’s plan will fail. If Escandon comes in hard and gets picked off by Russell’s hand speed, it could get ugly. One thing Russell does is make a guy with a high punch output lower his output. That’s because his fast hands puts guys on the defensive and if they aren’t skilled enough to switch back to offense fast enough, the punches overwhelm them.

If Russell focuses on the knockout, it could play into Escandon’s hands. If he is unable to get Oscar out, he may fall victim to Oscar’s sneaky right hands and short left shots that seem to either buzz or knock out the best opponents on his resume.

Escandon is not the typical slow guy who is going to get busted up and take too many shots and be a bloody mess by the 4th round. He’s coming to National Harbor to win.

I think it’ll be an action fight and I believe it’ll be a rough one too.  Action because Oscar is going to push the action.  Action because it’ll force Gary to be active.

The main reason it’ll be a rough and action battle is because each fighter will use the game plan that the other should use. Russell should use his offense and attack with hand speed and try to overwhelm Escandon at range with speed boxing. Escandon should hold his grounds and be attempt to counter and try to get the KO.

Instead, both teams go in with higher risk strategies.

I believe eventually Russell will start to counter the hard charging Escandon and Oscar will wear down. Russell may catch Oscar and drop him, but I think Gary will win a decision instead.

I like Russell by decision in an action fight.

Bonus picks:

I’ll take Gervonta Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) by late corner stoppage over Liam Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs). Walsh is an okay fighter, but I think Tank overwhelms him and the corner will graciously stop it.

Jose Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) takes on Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) for the rights to be mandatory challenger to James DeGale. Jose is slow but he is punching! Think Kelly Pavlik. Hand speed isn’t there but if he catches you, it’s lights out. See here:

This could be Andre Dirrell’s last chance. Will the pressure get to him? He is too talented to have never been a world champion.  I think Dirrell survives a scare and holds on for a win. I’ll take his speed and experience to carry him.

Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) faces Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a WBA eliminator. Relikh stopped 12 straight before losing a decision to Ricky Burns. I like Barthelemy in this one. With a win, Rances becomes the mandatory for Julius Indongo (22-0), but I would love to see a Rances Barthelemy vs. Terence Crawford showdown if they both win. I think Barthelemy would be a problem for Crawford.

Rances Barthelemy Training Camp Quotes & Photos

Two-Division World Champion Battles Kiryl Relikh in 140-Pound Title Eliminator on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 20 From
MGM National Harbor in Maryland
 
Click HERE for Photos from Sean Michael Ham/
Premier Boxing Champions
 

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (May 10, 2017) – Cuban star Rances Barthelemy will look to take one step closer to becoming the first Cuban fighter to win world titles in three weight classes when he battles Kiryl Relikh in a WBA 140-pound title eliminator on Saturday, May 20 on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

 

Televised coverage begins on SHOWTIME at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and is headlined by WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. defending his title against top challenger Oscar Escandon plus super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship. In the telecast opener, from Copper Box Arena in London, Gervonta Davis defends his IBF 130-pound world championship against Liam Walsh.

 

Tickets for the live event at MGM National Harbor, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.

Already a champion at 130 and 135-pounds, a victory over the former title challenger Relikh will put Barthelemy in the mandatory position to face unified 140-pound champion Julius Indongo and do something that no fighter has done in the rich history of Cuban boxing.

Here is what Barthelemy had to say from training camp in Las Vegas:

1) How is training camp going? How have you benefitted from sparring and training alongside of your brother Leduan and Yordenis Ugas and have their recent performances been an indication of how you expect to perform?

 

“Training camp is going really well. Training alongside of my brother and Yordenis under the tutelage of Ismael Salas is the best thing that could happen in my career. They keep me focused and motivated to get better every day. Yordenis and I have been helping each other during our camps, he’s an Olympic athlete so having him to train with is really beneficial. We have a new strength and conditioning coach as well who has us in the best shape possible. I know May 20 you guys will see the best Rances Barthelemy yet.”

2) What would it mean to you to become the first three-division world champion from Cuba?

 

“It would mean the world to me, after all that it took to defect from Cuba, the near death experiences, the imprisonments, leaving my loved ones behind, it would all have been worth it. I want to inspire the youth that come after me as well, let them know to never give up on their dreams no matter the conditions you live in or what the naysayers may say. Me winning a third world title and making history for a Cuban would prove that.”

3) What did you take away from Relikh’s loss to Ricky Burns?

 

“I didn’t get to watch the fight but watched the highlights and it seemed like a very entertaining fight. People were saying that it probably should have gone the other way even, so it seems like he put on a good performance.”

4) How would you characterize Relikh’s style and how do you see this fight playing out? 

 

“He likes to come forward a lot and attack. I’m prepared for that if that’s what he plans to do come fight night but I also anticipate having to make adjustments. I always prepare to adjust to whatever my opponent brings. Being a cerebral fighter is a skill that has helped me succeed inside the ring.”

5) Can you address your 11-month layoff and how your training has been geared towards shaking off any ring rust you may have?

 

“There will be no ring rust come May 20 as we have been in the gym non-stop since my last fight against Mickey Bey. We took a few weeks off to visit Cuba for the first time since my defection. Aside from that I made sure to stay active and I’ve been training hard to be prepared when my name got called. The 11-month layoff happened for reasons out of my control. My management team has been trying to get the best opponents and unfortunately it took longer than we expected but we are here now and I’m as prepared as I have ever been.”

6) How did you trip back to Cuba come about and what was it like to be back in your home country?

 

 

“It was very emotional and a long eight years since I had been back. I didn’t know if I’d be able to go back or not. But I visited the Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. and they told me I’d finally be able to go back to visit my loved ones. It was nothing but nerves until I got over there. It was an emotional time and everyone welcomed me back with open arms in my hometown of Havana. It’s something I will never forget, especially for the way I was received.”

7) How do you rate your skills and progression as a fighter considering your last three dominant wins over top quality opposition? Do you feel that you are at the peak of your career? 

Continue reading

Premier Boxing Champions Rolls Into May With An Exciting Slate Of Shows

PBC

Featherweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz

Puts On Promoter’s Hat For FS1 & FOX Deportes

Toe-to-Toe Tuesday Show On May 2

 

Unbeaten Rising Star David Benavidez Tests

His Mettle Against Porky Medina In 168-Pound

World Title Eliminator On FS1 & FOX Deportes

On Saturday, May 20

 

Undefeated Welterweight Star Errol Spence

Challenges Kell Brook For 147-pound Championship

In Sheffield, England in Premier Boxing Champions Action

On SHOWTIME, May 27

 

LAS VEGAS (May 1, 2017) – The Premier Boxing Champions series will follow a very busy April with an extremely exciting month of May. The slate of shows will run the weight spectrum from featherweight to super middleweight.

 

“The Premier Boxing Champions series schedule for May has a slate of shows where several boxers get an opportunity to step up to world title matches,” said Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Haymon Sports. “With so much on the line those kinds of challenges typically lead to action-packed, fan-friendly matches.”

 

Kicking off the month is a thrilling 10-round lightweight clash between Ivan Redkach (20-2-1, 16 KOs) and former world champion Argenis Mendez (23-5-1, 12 KOs) on TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes from the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California on May 2. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

 

The show will be staged by featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz’s Last Round Promotions, and will include an 8-round junior featherweight match between Brandon Figueroa and Luis Saavedra and a 6-round bantamweight match between Antonio Santa Cruz and Arturo Torres. The show will be a family affair as Brandon Figueroa is the younger brother of Omar Figueroa and Antonio is the cousin of Leo Santa Cruz.

 

David Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), an ascending star, will meet former world title challenger Rogelio “Porky” Medina (37-7, 31 KOs) in a super middleweight title elimination match from Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas on May 20. Benavidez will face the toughest test of his career against Medina, a veteran who has already fought for a world title. The winner will get a shot at the 168-pound world champion.

 

Televised coverage will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with unbeaten 126-pound contender Jorge Lara (28-0-2, 20 KOs) taking on hard-hitting brawler Mario Briones (28-5-2, 22 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight match.

 

Unbeaten top welterweight star Errol Spence, Jr. (21-0, 19 KOs) will travel from his home in Desoto, Texas to take on Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) in his hometown at Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England in a Premier Boxing Championship match on SHOWTIME.

 

In other non-PBC matches of interest to boxing fans in the month of May, Gervonta Davis (17-0, 18 KOs) will defend his 130-pound world title against No. 1 contender Liam Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) from Copper Box Arena in London, England on SHOWTIME on May 20.

 

On the same night Gary Russell, Jr. (21-1, 16 KOs) will defend his 126-pound world title against Oscar Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) at MGM National Harbor outside Washington D.C. on SHOWTIME. In the co-feature Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) will meet Jose Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) for the vacant 168-pound championship. Additionally, Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) faces Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a lightweight world title eliminator.

Super Middleweight Contenders Andre Dirrell & Jose Uzcategui Battle for Interim World Title Plus Two-Division World Champion Rances Barthelemy Takes on Former Title Challenger Kiryl Relikh in 140-Pound Title Eliminator

Saturday, May 20 From MGM National Harbor in Maryland &
 Live on SHOWTIME
 
Tickets Now on Sale!
 

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (April 17, 2017) – An exciting night of action will feature super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui in a matchup for the Interim IBF Super Middleweight World Championship plus two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a WBA 140-pound world title eliminator against Kiryl Relikh on Saturday, May 20 from the recently opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland and live on SHOWTIME.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. making the second defense of his title when he faces top challenger Oscar Escandon.

Top 168-pound contenders Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) are set to meet in a 12-round matchup with the winner in line to face IBF champion James DeGale, who is currently recovering from injuries sustained in his draw against Badou Jack in January on SHOWTIME.

“This fight is a massive step towards my journey to success in 2017,” said Dirrell. “To me, this is my championship fight leading up to the rematch with the current champion, James DeGale. Jose has all of the tools of a champion, so he’s fierce competition for me. But I will show the world that I’m up for the task. This is my year!”

“I’m very excited to be facing a fighter the quality of Andre Dirrell,” said Uzcategui. “These are the types of fights that I’ve wanted and I look forward to coming out victorious. This fight will be another step on the way to my dream of becoming a world champion.”

A world champion at 130 and 135-pounds, Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) and the former world title challenger Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) will battle in 12 rounds of action for the right to be the mandatory challenger for current WBA Super Lightweight Championship held by unified champion Julius Indongo.

“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially on SHOWTIME against a top-ranked contender in Kiryl Relikh,” said Barthelemy. “This victory will get me one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming the first Cuban to win world titles in three different weight classes. I’m very motivated and I will not be denied on May 20.”

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity in a world title eliminator,” said Relikh. “Rances Barthelemy is a good fighter, but my experience at this weight will help me get the victory. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to get this win and eventually wear that world title belt around my waist.”

Tickets for the live event, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.

Representing his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Dirrell looks to take one step closer to a rematch with DeGale after dropping a narrow decision to the current IBF champion in May 2015. The 33-year-old bounced back from the defeat in his last outing by earning a wide unanimous decision over Blake Caparello last April. After a decorated amateur career that saw him win two U.S. Amateur World Championships in addition to an Olympic bronze medal, Dirrell was unbeaten in his first 18 pro fights before losing a split decision to Carl Frosh in 2009.

Born in Venezuela, Uzcategui now fights out of Baja California, Mexico, where he won two fights last year by knockout. The 26-year-old shot up the rankings in 2015 when he stopped previously unbeaten Julius Jackson in the second round after knocking his opponent down four times. Uzcategui was undefeated in his first 22 pro fights and enters this bout on a four-fight win streak.

A Cuban amateur national champion, 30-year-old Barthelemy has yet to taste defeat since turning pro in 2009. Born in Cuba but now fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev. he won a super featherweight world title in July 2014 by defeating Argenis Mendez in impressive fashion, and followed that up with a second round TKO victory over Angino Perez. After dominating former champion Antonio DeMarco in June, he won a world title in a second division when he impressively defeated Denis Shafikov in December. Most recently, Barthelemy made the lone defense of his lightweight belt with a decision over former champion Mickey Bey last June.

Fighting out of Minsk, Belarus, Relikh returns to the ring after challenging the former champion Burns for the WBA title in October 2016. The 27-year-old was undefeated after turning pro in 2011 leading up to his world title shot. Relikh owns wins over veteran contenders Christian Ariel Lope, Joaquim Carneiro and Lazaro Santos de Jesus.

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For more information, follow on Twitter @MrGaryRussellJr, @TGBPromotions, @MGMNatlHarbor and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing and http://www.Facebook.com/MGMNationalHarbor. The event is sponsored by Corona Extra, La Cerveza Mas Fina.

GARY RUSSELL JR. VS. OSCAR ESCANDON SET FOR MAY 20 AT MGM NATIONAL HARBOR

WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will make the second defense of his title when he faces top challenger Oscar Escandon Saturday, May 20 in themain event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from the recently opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland live on SHOWTIME.

 
The Maryland-native Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) and the WBC Interim Featherweight Champion Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) will battle in one of boxing’s most talented divisions that continues to deliver exciting action fight after fight. A lineup of exciting co-featured attractions will be announced next week.

 
“I’m a gladiator getting ready for a tough battle,” said Russell Jr. “This is going to be a huge night for my family and I’m glad that the time is here. This will be the first time as pros that I get to fight on the same card as both of my little brothers, (unbeaten bantamweight) Gary Antonio and (2016 U.S. Olympian) Gary Antuanne, plus my brother Gary Allan will work all of our corners. We’re excited to get in the ring and show the fans what we’re capable of doing in the ring.”

 
“I’ve had to wait for this opportunity to face Gary Russell Jr. and I’m going to take full advantage of it,” said Escandon. “It’s going to be a great fight and I know the fans are going to get their money’s worth. I feel 100 percent healthy and now that the fight is here I am ready to knock him out.”

Tickets for the live event promoted by TGB Promotions are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to http://mgmnationalharbor.com/. The main event is co-promoted by Sampson Boxing. This bout was originally scheduled to take place on March 11 but was rescheduled after Escandon suffered a back injury in training camp. Fans who bought tickets for the March 11 show will have their tickets honored on May 20.

 
“This is going to be a great night of boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The featherweight division is very hot right now with the recent wins by Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares. There is something very special going on in the division and this will be another memorable fight. Escandon is a tough warrior who has proven time and again that he doesn’t care about going on the road or where he fights. There are great boxing fans in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region and they are in-store for an exciting night on May 20.”

A speedy and supremely talented boxer, Russell Jr., was impressive in his fourth-round stoppage of the battle-tested Jhonny Gonzalez that earned him the title in March 2015. The 2008 U.S. Olympian had scored important victories over Vyacheslav Gusev, Juan Ruiz and Miguel Tamayo before losing a majority decision to Vasyl Lomachenko for the WBO 126-pound title in June 2014. The southpaw, of Capitol Heights, Md., most recently scored a dominant second-round TKO victory over Patrick Hyland in his first title defense in April 2016.

 
Fighting out of Ibague, Colombia, Escandon turned pro in 2008 and was undefeated in his first 22 professional bouts. Escandon won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2014 when he defeated Tyson Cave in his U.S. debut. He earned his shot at Russell Jr. last March when he survived an early knockdown to score a knockout victory over Robinson Castellanos in the seventh round of their showdown in Washington, D.C.

 
For more information, follow on Twitter @MrGaryRussellJr, @TGBPromotions, @MGMNatlHarbor and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing and http://www.Facebook.com/MGMNationalHarbor. The event is sponsored by Corona, La Cerveza Mas Fina.