Beltway-area natives Gary Russell Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs) and Antoine Douglas (18-0-1, 12 KOs) held a media workout at The Enigma Boxing on Tuesday as they prepare for their separate bouts in November on SHOWTIME.
Russell Jr. will make the first defense of his WBC Featherweight World Championship against Colombia’s Oscar Escandón (24-2, 16 KOs) in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, Nov. 14, live on SHOWTIME (10:45 p.m. ET/PT) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Douglas, a world-ranked rising middleweight prospect, will put his undefeated record on the line against veteran Les Sherrington (35-7, 20 KOs) in the main event of the prospect-oriented series ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Nov. 6, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from the D Las Vegas.
Here’s what Russell Jr., Douglas, Gary Russell Sr. (Gary’s father and trainer) and Gary Antonio Russell (Gary’s younger brother and undefeated boxing prospect) had to say on Tuesday:
GARY RUSSELL JR.:
“Training camp is going great, we’re right on course. There was a minor hiccup in the camp because I was supposed to fight on Oct. 24. I started sparring, but once the fight got pushed back to November 14 I cut the sparring off. I didn’t want to peak too early.
“Today (Tuesday) was my first day back sparring again. I’m working on my timing, ring generalship and lateral movement. We’re right on course.
“Oscar Escandon is strong and durable. He comes straight forward. If his corner was smart they would try to take away my hand speed which will be a big factor in the fight. He’ll need to close the distance, smother my punches so speed isn’t a factor.
“We are working on becoming just as comfortable fighting on the outside as I am fighting on the inside.
“A lot of fighters are one-dimensional. We are trying to make that diamond shine on all sides.
“I know that I will be victorious without a doubt. Anyone that you get in the ring with these small, 8-ounce gloves always has a possibility of creating an upset whether he’s a big puncher or not. It only takes one shot. It’s the fighters’ job to take away that opportunity.
“I’m excited to fight, period. I don’t even think about this fight being a title defense. It takes a certain type of mental toughness and psychological strength to get in the ring and perform. Anyone who gets in the ring against me is a champion in my eyes.
“It’s been about seven months since I fought. I’m always anxious to get back in the ring.
“If I get past Escandon I would love to fight Leo Santa Cruz, we fought in the amateurs. But we never underestimate any opponent and we are focused on getting this fight out of the way first. Lee Selby is another guy that we’re looking at. Of course Abner Mares, even though he lost, would be a great fight. These are the type of guys that we’d like to fight.
“Having my family with me during training camp means everything to me. It’s where I get my energy from. A lot of guys feel like they have to get away for training camp, but I don’t have to leave home. My family is the driving force behind my training camp and where I find my power and motivation. At the end of the day, I box for my family.
“If my brother ends up fighting on my undercard it would be very cool for me. It will be funny because if he does compete, you will definitely see me work his corner before my title fight.”
“I know my opponent is a tall southpaw. He likes to fight on the inside and smother his opponents with his punches. It’s a good matchup. I can adjust to any boxer face.
“I’m satisfied with the way that my career has progressed, taking steps up with each opponent along the way. We’re ready to take that next step, more toward a title shot.
“If all goes well with my fight against Les Sherrington I hope to start fighting on Saturday, make that move from ShoBox to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
“I see myself fighting for a world title in the near future. There are plenty names in the division that I look at, but only a few guys that hold the titles. I look at Daniel Jacobs and Peter Quillin as guys that I would like to fight.
“The Jacobs vs. Quillin fight could go either way. I think I’m leaning more towards Quillin.
“I was born prematurely. Doctors told my family that I wouldn’t be able to walk or see, but look at me now. My mom is always screaming at my fights because she’s so proud of the fact that I’ve overcome so much.
“I grew up with my siblings bouncing around at different foster homes from the age of 5. I was running the streets because I didn’t know any better.
“My cousin adopted us and he first introduced us to boxing.
“Boxing provided me with a family, structure and disciple. It has made me the person I am today and has brought me success so I can live a better life in the future.
“My upbringing in the streets prepared me for my career in the ring. I have already been through the battle and if something was to stop me it would’ve already happened.
“My mom battled addiction when I was younger and she wasn’t in my life. She’s now back in my life and it means a lot to me to have her supporting me with my career. I am also able to provide structure in her life.
“It would mean everything to me to have my mom and I celebrate a world title.”
GARY RUSSELL SR.:
“I know it’s a championship fight, but we go into every fight like it’s a title fight. We don’t know a ton about his opponent, we just train like champions.
“I have six sons, all of them are fighters. They all have different attributes as people that translate differently into who they are as people and in the ring.
“Antonio Russell is 4-0, he’s worked really hard all of his life. Outside of the gym, he can fix anything. Antoine, who just qualified for the Olympic trials, is brilliant. I’m very proud of him because he just graduated valedictorian of his class with the highest GPA of anyone in Prince George’s county. Then you have Gary, who is so hard working, he’s the future patriarch of the family, he has an old spirit.
“I’m proud of all of my kids and I’m proud that we’re a strong family unit. We learned a lot from Gary’s loss to Vasyl Lomachenko. We have a motto at the gym that hangs from a banner, it says ‘Success is the Ultimate Revenge’ and we’ve lived by that ever since the loss. We learned an important lesson from that fight and have moved on.
“Boxing is a fleeting thing, you don’t do it forever. We’re doing our own thing. I’m not worried about what other people have done.
“As a father, your paternal instinct kicks in because in this sport, anything can happen. You don’t want to see your son end up hurt. So we train for any circumstance. Because of that instinct, I’ve been strict and hard on my sons in order to keep them safe.”
GARY ANTONIO RUSSELL (Fighting on the Friday, Oct. 30 non-televised Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV undercard and potentially the November 14 undercard.):
“With the way we train and fight, our defense sets up our offense and our offense sets up our defense.
“My job is to go in there and win fights. I know my opponent is a tall guy, but I also know that he is not going to win. He doesn’t have the punching power or ring generalship that I have.
“Once I win, I’m on to the next. I’m trained to fight consistently. I hope I get this guy out early, if it comes and presents itself. Then I’d love to fight on my older brother’s card two weeks after.”