Featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17 KOs) successfully defended his WBC title against undefeated mandatory challenger Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
The fight aired live on Showtime Championship Boxing from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Check out Round By Round Boxing‘s full fight-card results below.
LIVE BOXING RESULTS
Gary Russell Jr. vs. Joseph Diaz Jr.
Gary Russell Jr. begins the fight more active, firing the jab repeatedly to Diaz’s head and body. The two’s and three’s are coming from Russell while Diaz remains in a tight defensive stance.
Midway through Round 1 Diaz’s face–red–shows the effect of the popping shots that Russell is landing.
Diaz lands a good hook to the body, Russell’s speed and sharp jab wins the round easily.
Gary Russell Jr. all over Joseph Diaz Jr. to open the second round and Diaz is momentarily in trouble, possibly dazed.
But Diaz is tough and fights back to earn Russell’s respect. Russell is digging vicious shots to the body which are taking heir toll.
Both men dig in and start banging hard shots to the body and JoJo shows that he’s here to fight.
Things are certainly heating up!
Gary Russell is putting everything he has behind his punches and while he’s landing, Diaz is taking the punches a lot better now in Round 3.
Russell keeping things interesting by staying in close to trade instead of firing combinations and then moving around Diaz.
Joseph Diaz is finding a home for hard and meaningful body shots which are slowly changing the complexion of the fight.
Gary Russell Jr. is now moving backwards with his hands held low, surely a sign that he’s not keen on eating more body shots.
Tough rounds to score as Diaz is putting in a lot of work to Russell’s body.
Gary Russell is landing the cleaner shots in this round as Diaz continues to walk forward, mimicking Vasiliy Lomachenko‘s plan of killing Russell to the body.
Diaz comes on late during the round but is it enough to win him the round?
Again, the round starts the same way as the previous two with Russell Jr. jumping out to an early lead and Diaz saving his best stuff for the middle to end.
When Russell shoots his combinations and then steps around Diaz, he’s winning the rounds clearly. Too much waiting for Diaz.
Russell Jr. being more intelligent shooting shots and then stepping around Diaz. Diaz focusing his power punching downstairs but seemingly too few and far between as Russell’s work rate steals the round.
The fighters have settled into a groove and Diaz seems to be getting the short end of the stick the last few rounds. He’ll need to pick up the pace if he hopes to take the title in the champions hometown.
Both men are tired but Russell Jr. is doing enough to win the rounds and controlling the pace with his jab.
Diaz continues to come forward like a good solider, but aside from a few body shots he’s eating punches and not letting his hands go.
Joseph Diaz finding more opportunities to pin Russell against the ropes and land shots.
Diaz picks up the pace to take the round behind more good body work, primarily a solid hook which was the best shot landed by either man during the 10th.
Fire fight in Round 11! Both men giving it all they have in the middle of the ring. Great work by both men as it was give and take and really a tough round to call.
Diaz seemed to have dropped Russell with a body shot, but it was called a slip.
Final round of a really good fight. Again, Diaz seems to score a knockdown off of a well placed body shot but referee Kenny Chevalier calls it a slip. Diaz pouring on the body work in the final round as the hometown crowd chants “Gary, Gary!!”
Total/Final RBRBoxing Card: 115-113 Russell
Total/Final Official Card: Russell Jr. defeats Diaz Jr. by UD with scores of 115-113, 117-111 and 117-111.
Immanuwel Aleem vs. Juan Carlos De Angel
Coming back from a devastating knockout at the hands of Hugo Centeno Jr., Immanuwel Aleem got back into the win column against durable veteran Juan Carlos De Angel.
Aleem took the victory via fifth-round stoppage to improve to 18-1-1.
Gary Antuanne Russell vs. Wilmer Rodriguez
- Gary Antuanne Russell kept the winning ways going for the family, blasting Wilmer Rodriguez in just one round.”It’s my hometown and I expect my hometown to be behind me and support me. This was a great experience competing here at MGM National Harbor. It was electric. It wasn’t my first time, but it always feels like home.
“It fills my heart up to be able to excite my hometown fans and give something back to all of them.
“I have no scars or bruises, it was quick and fast, so whatever my coach says, I’ll follow his lead. I followed his instructions tonight and executed.”
“As a fighter I have to have a strong mental foundation. I wasn’t worried about how my opponent came into this fight, just that I was at my peak. With that focus, I was able to get the job done.”
Gary Antonio Russell vs. Jonathan Lecona
- In the first bout of the night featuring a Russell, Gary Antonio Russell scored a stoppage of Jonathan Lecona in Round 5. The stoppage came 16 seconds into the round.
“I felt as though I showed some versatility, but I could have made it an even easier fight from the inside and the outside. He didn’t have the skill that I have.“I thought the jab and body shots were effective. He was a crafty fighter who tried to do little things such as turn his back and turn his head to try to get me to hit him in an illegal spot. I was astute enough to not throw at those times.“Game plan is always to touch him at any opening. Body or whatever is available. He wanted to stay on the ropes and I was happy with that. It made him an easier target.“I’m ready to get back in the ring as soon as possible. We’re in the gym 24/7 and staying as active as possible.”
Cobia Breedy vs. Christopher Martin
- Cobia Breedy battled Christopher Martin in a scheduled six-round bout and earned a unanimous decision.Breedy won with scores of 60-54 three times.
Brandon Quarles vs. Fidel Monterrosa
- In the second bout of the evening, Hillcrest Heights boxer Brandon Quarles scored a stoppage victory over the tough Colombian native, Fidel Moneterrosa.Quarles earned the TKO victory in Round 5 at 2:01.
Reuben Simmons vs. Ayron Davis
- In the first bout of the evening at the MGM National Harbor, Ayron Davis quit headed into the second round due on advice of the doctor, giving Reuben Simmons the victory.There seemed to be some confusion as to why the doctor stopped the fight, but Davis seemed to have a bump or cut on his head.
Header photo by Rosie Cohe/Showtime
Alejandro "Alex" Burgos is a former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Round By Round Boxing. He is a professional blogger, SEO Consultant and Marketing Director at Capital Practice Consulting in Washington, DC.