Newly crowned WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. (26-1-0, 15 KOs) has endured his share of criticism since turning pro in 2009.
Rightfully so, boxing followers expected more from him considering his solid amateur background, undisguisable talent, and high ceiling for potential.
Russell stood toe to toe with tomato cans and TBA’s for the first 24 fights of his career until he fought Vasyl Lomachenko back in June 2014 for the vacant WBO belt.
Lomachenko disposed of Russell in impressive and indisputable fashion, beating him in a decision that wasn’t as close as the judge’s scorecards implicated.
The situation left Russell to be questioned by fans and writers of the sport alike, wondering if he’d ever put his lightning fast hands and slick defensive style to proper use.
Russell proved the naysayers wrong on Saturday night, March 28, when he dominated Jhonny Gonzalez for three and a half rounds before eventually stopping him in the fourth, taking Gonzalez’ title.
It was a statement win for Russell. He now holds his first world title, and has Al Haymon standing behind him providing him with the opportunity to be exposed to millions of new boxing viewers via Premier Boxing Champions, which airs on major network television.
So let’s take a look at the future for Gary Russell Jr., and who he just might be making his first title defense against.