Maryland native puts on a show for his hometown fans as he dominates previously unbeaten challenger at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Gary Russell Jr. vs Joseph Diaz Jr. Highlights: May 19, 2018. (Showtime Sports)

OXON HILL, MARYLAND — This was a little scary. Gary Russell Jr. would throw his metronome jab—and Joseph Diaz Jr. kept coming. Russell would counter with lightning-fast combinations, working up and down to the body and head—and Diaz kept coming. Russell would peck at the midsection with two, three, four blinding shots—and Diaz kept coming.

It was this accumulation of jabs, and body shots, and occasional right hooks that eventually spelled victory for Russell, who successfully retained the WBC featherweight title for the third time with a unanimous decision win over 25-year-old Joseph Diaz Jr., on a Showtime-televised card at his home away from home Saturday night, the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I hurt my right hand in the second or third round, so we had to make the adjustments,” said Russell, who improved to 29-1, with 17 KOs. “[Diaz] couldn’t get past my jab. When he got close, we made sure to smother him. Then we reset and got back on the stick. We train to survive those body shots. We put the work in every day in the ring. We consistently grind and push ourselves to be great. We push ourselves to the limit.

“I was disappointed in my performance, because I wasn't planning on going the distance. I hurt the right hand, but I still had to use it, because he could not get past my jab. The jab definitely dictated everything I did. My speed offset everything he tried to do coming forward.

“We want a unification. We want to unify this division, or we're moving up in weight for another title. I want another belt.”

Diaz (26-1, 14 KOs) was effective dropping down and slamming hard left body shots on Russell’s sides. His problem was not throwing them enough. Diaz’s main strategy was to wear down the 29-year-old Washington, D.C.-based fighter.

“The game plan was to break him down with the body shots and start attacking him more in the later rounds,” said Diaz, 25, who landed 192/491 (39%) total punches, 41/128 (32%) jabs and 151/363 (42%) power shots. “But I started attacking him too late. I didn't pick it up until the 8th or 9th round. Gary Russell Jr. is a tremendous fighter and he did a great job keeping me at bay. I needed to start in sixth round.

“He was throwing a lot of pitter patter jabs to keep me at bay. He was trying to keep me guessing and make sure I had to think about coming in. Overall it was a good learning experienced and I'll definitely be back.

“I had a feeling he would try to stand with him and give the fans a knockout. I didn't think he would move quite as much as he did.”

Diaz seemed to be the bigger fighter. His best rounds were the second, fifth, 11th and 12th. Russell landed a total of 199/992 (20%), 61/587 (10%) jabs and 138 / 405 (34%) power shots.

“He wasn't hurting me with any shots,” Diaz maintained about Russell. “He was just very fast. It was keeping me guessing. When he threw combinations, I wasn't able to set my shots. I was a little bit hesitant.

“This will just make me a hungrier fighter. I hope I got the respect of a lot of fight fans. I wanted to become champion against the best featherweight fighter in the world. Tonight wasn't my night but I'm going to bounce back harder and I'll be champion soon.”

We want a unification. We want to unify this division, or we're moving up in weight for another title. I want another belt. WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr.

Russell brothers also victorious

Gary Antuanne Russell, the former 2016 U.S. junior welterweight Olympian, hardly worked up a sweat in dispensing the overmatched Wilmer Rodriguez (9-3, 7 KOs). A southpaw, Antuanne Russell (5-0, 5 KOs) knocked down Rodriguez twice before referee Bill Clancy called it over at 1:54 of the first.

It was hardly a fight.

“It's my hometown and I expect my hometown to be behind me and support me,” Antuanne Russell said. “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 was the first of the Russell brothers to fight. In a scheduled six-round bantamweight weight, Antonio started the Russell trio off well by scoring first and four-round knockdowns over Jonathan Lecona Ramos (17-20-4, 6 KOs), before Clancy stopped it at :16 of the fifth.

Antonio Russell’s first knockdown was the result of a right hook to the body. Southpaw Antonio Russell (11-0, 9 KOs) did well working up and down, landing short, impactful shots. He may have had a habit of being impatient and trying to head hunt too much, missing a number of shots in the second and third rounds.

But Antonio Russell, sensing he had the fight under control, then methodically plowed away again in the fourth, getting his second knockdown when Ramos collapsed under a barrage of punches. Ramos kept taking Antonio Russell’s shots, until Clancy had seen enough and waved it over at :16 of the fifth.

Aleem dominates in return to win column

On the undercard, super middleweight Immanuel Aleem (18-1-1, 11 KOs) dominated Juan Carlos De Angel (20-9-1, 18 KOs) from start to finish, knocking down the Colombian fighter near the end of the fourth and eventually stopping him in six. Aleem was patient, methodical and calculating. He went well to the body, especially in the opening minute of the fifth, bending De Angel in half with a right uppercut to the gut.

Each time De Angel tried mounting an attack, Aleem walked through it as if he were flicking away pebbles. By the sixth round, it appeared a matter of time before Aleem would press the action and stop De Angel, but the Colombian found a way to hang around.

He nailed Aleem with a right to the body, which caused the fighter from Long Island, New York, to be somewhat hesitant. The round didn’t buy De Angel any more time.

Clancy called a halt after the sixth when De Angel couldn’t answer the bell.

For a complete recap of Russell vs Diaz, check out our fight page.

This week on PBC Jabs, 175-pound world champion Adonis "Superman" Stevenson checks in to discuss his game plan for his May 19th title defense against Badou Jack. SPOILER ALERT: He's going for the knockout.

Plus, we recap the exciting fight action from our May 11th Bounce show headlined by an entertaining 154-pound scrap between Ishe Smith and Tony Harrison.

Fight Night: Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Pioneer Event Center, Lancaster, California

Kauffman vs Alexander

Veteran Travis Kauffman survives slugfest vs Scott Alexander as heavyweights score alternating first-round knockdowns.
Kauffman vs Alexander Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Kauffman No data available No data available No data available No data available
Alexander No data available No data available No data available No data available

Travis Kauffman pulls out MD win over Scott Alexander in bout that featured alternating first-round knockdowns

LANCASTER, CALIF. — Travis Kauffman took home a majority decision victory over Scott Alexander (14-3, 8 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight matchup Sunday night on Premier Boxing Champions onFS1 and FOX Deportes from Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California.

In a wild first round, it was Kauffman who struck first, landing an overhand right while Alexander was pinned against the ropes that sent his opponent to the canvas in the final minute of the round. As Kauffman sought the finishing blow, Alexander landed a perfect counter left hook in the final seconds of the round that sent Kauffman sprawled out on the canvas before he narrowly beat the count and returned to his corner to continue the fight.

 After the first round, Kauffman and Alexander exchanged combinations across the remainder of the fight, with both men switching often and effectively to counter and land on each other. Alexander's speed and athleticism helped him control portions of the fight while Kauffman continued to press forward for 10 rounds attacking the body and looking to fight on the inside.

 In the end, Kauffman narrowly took home the majority decision by scores of 95-95 and 96-94 twice.

"I knew it was a close fight, closer than what I thought," said Kauffman (32-2, 23 knockouts), after the fight. "I thought I had it by two rounds but I'm fighting a hometown kid and a very durable kid." 

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Wes "" Nofire

Daniel "DannyTheBabyFacedAssassin " Roman

WBC featherweight champion—who faces top challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. Saturday night on Showtime—makes sure younger brothers and amateur boxers at his Maryland-based gym have the financial support to train and travel.

Gary Russell Jr. vs Oscar Escandon Highlights: May 20, 2017. (Showtime Sports)

Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs) knows something about the benefits of having supportive people in one’s life. Well before he became the WBC featherweight champion of the world, he was a young athlete working toward his ultimate goal of making it to the Olympic Games.

“My father and my mom were great support,” Russell said. “I watched my mother and father spend tons of dollars on trips, to drive to get me a little bit of experience in these smoker shows in different states. I’d overhear my parents talk about how they gotta come out of pocket with some more money to keep competing in these tournaments.”

Boxing has long been a family affair for the Russells. Gary Jr. has four brothers who also practice the sweet science and have since childhood. Their father, Gary Sr., had the insight to recognize the need for the sport, but also the potential heights the boys could reach.

“We were naturally aggressive children, and my father realized that very early,” Russell said. “And he decided, let’s target it into something that’s gonna be productive. We did it, and we loved it. We stuck with it.”

That support has taken Russell to the top of the featherweight division and garnered him a world championship.

Russell of Capitol Heights, Maryland faces his mandatory challenger, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz (26-0, 14 KOs) this Saturday in a Showtime-televised card (10 p.m. ET/PT) at MGM National Harbor near his home in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I take my hat off to JoJo Diaz because as a young, up-and-coming fighter, he wants to fight the best,” Russell said. “He’s made the statement himself that I am the best fighter in the division. All the other world champions in the division don’t want to compete against me. He’s willing to do that. So I have to respect him in that manner as an individual, as a fighter, as a friend, as a fellow warrior.’’

While Russell has been a world champion for over three years, that wasn’t always the direction he saw himself going.

“It’s funny, because I never really had a goal to become a world champion. My goal was always to become an Olympian. Me and my family would sit down and watch the Olympics. I remember it was just so cool to watch it. I was like, man, I want to be an Olympian.”

Russell achieved his goal, but it was bittersweet.

“I ended up being an Olympian in Beijing in 2008. I wasn’t able to compete because the air in Beijing was so polluted. Everybody was getting sick, vomiting and stuff. It was crazy because that happened to me and I didn’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics. I won my way all the way to the Olympic Games. I was one of the favorites to actually medal. And I got all the way to Beijing, got ill, and couldn’t even compete.”

Such a devastating blow may have caused some people to abandon their dream, but Gary Jr. showed what sets him apart. He persevered and set a new goal for himself.

“There were so many people who’d supported me,” Russell said. “I didn’t want them to feel their support was in vain. The only way to make it up to them was to become a world champion.”

The 29-year-old is a natural lefty, though he didn’t always fight in the southpaw stance. He started out orthodox, but felt more comfortable going lefty. The fact that he’s ambidextrous helped. His father relented and it worked out.

Russell has mastered his craft from all angles and all ranges. While some boxers are comfortable either at in close or long range, Russell prides himself on being able to perform at the distance that gives him an advantage.

I watched my mother, my father do everything in their power to make sure that I had the ability to compete in these tournaments, to get the experience. This is my way of somewhat paying it forward WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr.

He also takes a very philosophical approach to the sport.

“Boxing is intellect manifested in physical form. In most cases, the more intelligent person should win. It’s not just throwing punches. It’s not just hitting hard,’’ Russell said. “What happens when both fighters have equal amount of speed, punching power? Who wins the fight then? The more intelligent fighter. The one that can make the necessary adjustments.

“I was taught that two fighters that had a war, a knock down, drag out fight, are two stupid fighters. Those are two fighters that didn’t have the ability to make the adjustments to make the fight easier.”

Russell admires old school fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis because of their ring creativity and versatility.

He is sharing his knowledge and his philosophy by sponsoring a group of amateur boxers called “Team Russell.’’

“All the kids on my team are either number one or number two in their weight class right now,” Russell said. “Whenever they get ready for a tournament, I’ll pay for their hotel fees, their plane fees for them and their parents. Every year we’ll do like a camp and bring the kids down to my gym for about a week or so. We’ll do a week’s training camp. We’ll work on certain stuff.”

It’s the kind of support he picked up from his parents.

“I watched my mother, my father do everything in their power to make sure that I had the ability to compete in these tournaments, to get the experience. This is my way of somewhat paying it forward,” he said.

Looking to the future, Russell would like to get on the business side of the sport to further help boxers.

“I feel as though boxers have somewhat of a black eye as being ignorant or brutes,” he said. “I think that’s because fighters just aren’t educated on the concept of business. I want to use this as an opportunity. Any fighters I promote, I would want them to learn about the business aspect of the sport.”

For a closer look at Russell vs Diaz, take a look at our fight page.

Unbeaten cruiserweight contender Andrew Tabiti says he will put his full arsenal on display when he faces veteran Lateef Kayode tonight on PBC on Bounce from Las Vegas.

Andrew Tabiti vs Lateef Kayode

Unbeaten cruiserweight contender Andrew Tabiti (left) faces off with Lateef Kayode prior to their PBC on Bounce co-main event on May 11, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Chicago-born Vegas transplant, Andrew Tabiti, just may be the last great American cruiserweight. Aiming to wedge himself into the upper level of a brutal division currently ruled by Eastern European tough guys, the 28-year-old is set apart from the bone-crushing division elite by a patient, disciplined style supported by a well-refined set of skills.

Tabiti (15-0, 12 KOs), who is nicknamed "The Beast," will meet Lateef "Power" Kayode (21-2, 16 KOs) and display that skill set in a 10-round cruiserweight co-feature underneath an Ishe Smith-Tony Harrison main event tonight from Sam's Town in Las Vegas, Nevada and broadcast live on Bounce TV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

A product of the Mayweather Gym and trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.'s old school lessons, Tabiti is a counter-puncher by nature, supported by a sharp jab coming from a nearly 80-inch reach and deceptive all-around quickness. He defaults to calm, cold professionalism when faced with tough tasks—as evidenced by his performances in high-water mark wins over Steve Cunningham and Keith Tapia.

With only 37 amateur fights, Tabiti has learned the vast majority of his lessons as a pro, developing as he moved along and showing himself to be a natural when it comes to assimilating an elite-level skill set.

"I'm excited to put on a good show and take care of a solid durable opponent,” Tabiti said. “I know that my time is coming and this another chance to show off my skills.

Some analysts would say that the cruiserweight contender is too patient and "professional" at this stage of his career, exceedingly cerebral and cautious in the face of what will be an increasingly aggressive set of high-end opposition as he moves towards world titles and legacy-defining battles.

The next stage of development for the emerging star will be to work on letting his hands go and making the fight-ending opportunities he currently waits to pounce on during fights. Already gifted with a strong and efficient counter right hand, Tabiti would do well to incorporate a big left in his arsenal and a more aggressive mindset.

Four years ago, Lateef Kayode would've been the ideal opponent to test the resolve of a thoughtful young tactician like Tabiti. Lacking in refined skills and nuance, the Nigerian-born, Vegas-residing Kayode was physically strong and aggressive and it made him a must-watch contender as he powered his way up the cruiserweight ranks. Dominant wins over Alfredo Escalera Jr., Matt Godfrey, and Felix Cora Jr. gave him a name. Then, a tightly contested draw with Antonio Tarver in 2012 (which was later changed to a no contest after Tarver tested positive for a banned substance) earned him elite status.

But then things went off the rails.

A three-fight run at heavyweight, culminating with a one-round TKO loss to Luis Ortiz (which was also changed to a no contest after Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance), seemed to throw Kayode well off his stride.

After the Ortiz match, Kayode had regressed in terms of technique and, more importantly, lacked the aggression that had defined his rise to the near-top just a couple of years earlier. A TKO loss to cruiserweight champ Denis Lebedev led to a 22-month layoff and then to a one-sided decision loss to Keith Tapia in September of 2017.

Coming into this bout with Tabiti, emerging from back-to-back high-profile losses, no one is quite sure what to expect. The Kayode of old could've pushed his younger foe like no one has before and could've forced a sink or swim war out of the cool-minded counter-puncher. The 35-year-old Kayode of recent form, however, brings little more than a name and an old-school toughness to the ring.

But, whether he's facing the best or the worst Kayode has to offer, Tabiti will have to work this coming Friday. It'll be a task he has yet to face against a fighter who can bring fire under the best of circumstances and stubborn tenacity under the worst.

The big question with Tabiti has always been whether he can take major league heat from someone adept at applying real pressure. And it's certainly within Kayode's ability to rattle a younger fighter not used to having outclassed opponents walk them down and/or walk through their best work.

If Kayode is intended to merely be a resume builder with a name, but shows up on fight night with even the slightest bit of spark, Tabiti could be in for the kind of tough night he needs to become battle-ready for the top cruiserweights.

However, if "The Beast" takes it for granted that he's there at Sam's Town to be fed the remains of a once-fearsome cruiserweight player while waiting on a big money title shot, he could be in for a terrible surprise.

This week on PBC Jabs, 154-pound contender Tony Harrison checks in to share his plans on becoming the first fighter to stop Ishe Smith on May 11, live on Bounce.

Plus, we preview the rest of our exciting May 11th Bounce card featuring a cruiserweight co-main battle between Andrew Tabiti and Lateef Kayode.

Fight Night: Sat, May 26, 2018 - Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi

Ramirez vs Mendez

Former champion Argenis Mendez dominates contender Eddie Ramirez in main event of PBC on FS1.
Ramirez vs Mendez Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Ramirez No data available No data available No data available No data available
Mendez No data available No data available No data available No data available

Former 130-pound titleholder Mendez drops Ramirez four times en route to a lopsided decision victory.

It looked as though former 130-pound titleholder Argenis Mendez (25-5-1, 12 KOs) was going to have an early night as he dropped Eddie Ramirez (17-2, 11 KOs) with 15 seconds left in the second round.

The 140-pound contender survived the late knockout, but Mendez kept his aggression in overdrive and dropped Ramirez again at the 2:30 mark of the third round.

Mendez looked sharp in his first fight at 140 pounds and his first fight in just over a year. Mendez was last seen earning a razor-thin split decision over Ivan Redkach last May.

In the middle rounds Ramirez fought valiantly, putting together combinations but it wasn't enough to stop Mendez from moving forward. Ramirez visited the canvas twice more in the fifth, mostly due to a wicked body attack from Mendez. 

Mendez was looking to end the fight in the sixth but found himself on the receiving end of a second assault from Ramirez.

While Ramirez stuck in there and did what looked impossible in the early rounds—seeing the final bell—the scores (99-87, 98-88, and 97-89) were dominantly in favor of Mendez.

Mendez has thrust himself into the mix at 140 pounds and is still a known enough name that he should find another meaningful fight before the end of the year.

Ramirez has now lost in back-to-back fights. He was stopped last October by another veteran former titleholder—Antonio DeMarco.

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Former title challenger Oscar Escandon clashes with unbeaten 126-pound contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar in co-main event on FS1 & FOX Deportes-televised card from Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.

Ramirez vs Mendez

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI — Once-beaten contender Eddie Ramirez will take on former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round super lightweight showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes Saturday, May 26 from Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also feature former title challenger Oscar Escandon meeting unbeaten 2012 Olympic silver medalistTugstsogt Nyambayar in a 10-round featherweight bout.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, start at $20 and are on sale now at the Beau Rivage Theatre box office, at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

"This is a fantastic card for true boxing fans, because it has all the elements that make the sport great,'' said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "You have a young contender in Eddie Ramirez looking to rebound from the first loss of his career facing a battle-tested former world champion in Argenis Mendez. You also have a young hungry contender in Nyambayar taking a major step forward by facing a strong contender in Escandon who wants to get back in the title mix. No one wants to take a step backwards.''

Ramirez (17-1, 11 KOs) is looking to bounce back from suffering the first loss of his career in his last outing. Ramirez was knocked out by former world champion Antonio DeMarco last October on FOX, although Ramirez believed the ref acted too hastily in ending the fight. The 25-year-old from Aurora, Illinois was rapidly moving up the ranks before the loss, having scored impressive stoppage victories over then unbeaten prospects Kevin Watts and Ryan Karl and a split decision victory over Erick Bone in fights that aired on FS1 and FOX Deportes.

"I really wanted the rematch with Antonio DeMarco, but I'm excited to be back in the ring," said Ramirez. "Mendez is a good fighter, but I'm going to win by knockout. I'm confident that I'm going to make a big statement that I'm back and better than I've ever been."

You have a young contender in Eddie Ramirez looking to rebound from the first loss of his career facing a battle-tested former world champion in Argenis Mendez. TGB Promotions President Tom Brown

The 31-year-old Mendez (24-5-1, 12 KOs) is coming off a split decision victory over Ivan Redkach last May on FS1 and FOX Deportes. With the win, the fighter out of the Dominican Republic rebounded from back-to-back losses to lightweight champion Robert Easter, Jr. and Luke Campbell. A member of the 2004 Dominican Olympic team, Mendez won a 130-pound world title with a knockout victory over Juan Carlos Salgado in 2013. He fought Rances Barthelemy twice to defend the title, with the first fight being declared a no decision before Mendez dropped the rematch.

"I lost two fights and people started to wonder if I was done, but I'm a former world champion and came back strong to win my last fight," said Mendez. "Eddie Ramirez is a good fighter, but when I show him my speed power, and skills, everyone is going to see what I'm still capable of. This is a great opportunity to show that I can beat this guy badly and get back to the world championship level."

Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) is trying to climb back into the featherweight title picture after losing by TKO to world champion Gary Russell, Jr. in his last fight on May 20. The 33-year-old from Ibague, Colombia scored a knockout victory over Robinson Castellanos in a 2016 interim featherweight title fight and lost a split decision to Moises Flores in a 2015 interim super bantamweight title bout.

"With the level of competition that I've fought and beat, I know I'm the toughest and most experienced guy Nyambayar will have ever fought," said Escandon. "Knockouts are what I do, and that's what I'm preparing to accomplish. But no matter what he tries to do, box or fight, I'm going to win this fight and climb back to the top."

Nyambayar (9-0, 8 KOs) went the distance for the first time as a pro last time in the ring as he earned an eight round unanimous decision over then unbeaten Harmonito Dela Torre last November. The 25-year-old from Ulan-Bator, Mongolia won a silver medal at flyweight at the 2012 London Games and has trained in California since turning pro in 2015.

"I feel very prepared for this fight," said Nyambayar. "I've gained a lot of experience in my last few fights and have started to prove that I am tough and dangerous. This is another step up and I expect him to be toughest opponent I've faced. I'm determined to win this fight by any means."

For a closer look at Ramirez vs Mendez, visit our fight page.

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Fans can live stream the fights on FOX Sports GO, available in English or Spanish through the FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. The fights are available on desktop at FOXSportsGO.com and through the app store, or connected devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku. In addition, all programs are also available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.

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