Gary Antuanne Russell moved to 16-0 in Brooklyn as former middleweight title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko also won.
In the telecast opener, unbeaten rising star Russell delivered a sixth-round TKO (:50) over former two-division Rances Barthelemy in their super lightweight clash to keep his perfect knockout streak intact.
Russell landed a clean leaping right hook that dropped Barthelemy early in the round. While Barthelemy could get to his feet, referee Shada Murdaugh waived off the action, drawing boisterous complaints from Barthelemy, his corner, and the crowd in attendance.
Gary Antuanne Russell wins
“I know Rances is a high-grade, class athlete, and he wanted to continue,” said Russell, who revealed post-fight that he hurt his left hand in the fifth round. “Emotions were high. Whether we are bruised or beaten, as a warrior, you always want to continue, but the referee was doing his job, and if he were allowed us to continue, it would have been the same outcome. I would have gotten him.
“In the sixth round, I had him back up. I knew he was looking for his right cross, and I caught him backing up, and I shot my hook and put him down, he was buzzed, but he wanted to keep going. He’s a warrior.”
“This is the most bitter loss of my career,” said Barthelemy. “I’m destroyed. Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t Russell’s fault at all. I’m a veteran, and I have been through something like that plenty of times in my career. The referee treated me like a rookie instead of the two-time world champion I am.”
The bout featured intriguing action from two skilled southpaws, as Russell and Barthelemy went toe-to-toe in a compelling round that saw both men throw over 60 punches and each eat big shots. As the action progressed, Barthelemy could find success countering the hard-charging Russell, who dictated much of the fight’s pace.
The fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining 361 power punches out of 515 total throws. Barthelemy expressed his displeasure with the referee’s decision post-fight and staked his claim to a rematch against Russell.
At the stoppage time, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.
“No, they shouldn’t have stopped it,” said Barthelemy. “I felt good. It was a good shot. I do not deny that, but they shouldn’t have stopped it. I got up and told him I was fine and good to go. Of course, I want the rematch with a different referee.”
Fighting for the first time since the passing of his father and lifelong trainer Gary Sr., Russell was led in his corner by his brother and former WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr., as he looks to continue his ascent in the 140-pound division.
“I want to tell my father up above I did it for him. We’re going to keep it going for pops,” said Russell. “This is something my dad instilled in us. Two things are inevitable, no matter what you go through in life and death.
“He raised us to be men and well-rounded men. Being thorough means being prepared, and he prepared us for boxing and life outside of boxing. I thank my father and did what I had to do.”
In live streaming action before the telecast, SHOWTIME BOXING COUNTDOWN saw top middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KOs) cruise to a unanimous decision over Joshua Conley (17-4-1, 11 KOs) by scores of 99-91 twice and 98-92 after ten rounds.