WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Junior will be making the latest defence of his title against undefeated Mongolian fighter Tugstsogt ‘King-Tug’ Nyambayar this Saturday night at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In recent times, Russell – whose two brothers are also featuring on the card – has attracted scorn from certain quarters for his infrequent appearances. Indeed, the American has been largely reduced to making annual showings to fulfil his mandatory obligations; something which has been a source of frustration for fans eager to see him pursuing unifications more actively with his counterparts in the division.
However, Russell himself is adamant that his fellow champions are actually the ones avoiding him, as opposed to the other way around. Indeed, this was a sentiment which was apparently expressed in an appalling video that surfaced last year of Russell threatening the father of former WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Naturally, Russell will be keen to put this controversy behind him with a convincing triumph over the seemingly heavy-handed ‘King-Tug’; someone who has stopped nine of his eleven opponents, including former WBC title challenger Oscar Escandon.
Russell is renowned for his scintillating hand speed and surgical punching from the southpaw stance, and will surely be looking to employ these qualities in order to effectively nullify the relentless and powerful style of his opposite number on fight night.
It has to be acknowledged that inactivity, in addition to a possible certain complacency on the part of Russell, are some factors that could potentially be decisive factors in this contest. Whatever the case, ‘King-Tung’ will certainly be looking to capitalise on these factors, as well as harnessing his own considerable experience as a successful amateur, to unseat the long-reigning champion who hasn’t been defeated since his encounter with the superb Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014.
On the undercard, former pound-for-pound superstar Guillermo Rigondeaux will be making his bantamweight debut against former titlist Liboro Solis for the secondary WBA title. Their bout was originally scheduled for December before the Venezuelan was forced to withdraw after sustaining an injury.
Rigondeaux will be eager to show fans that he is not finished, after an ill-fated move up to super-featherweight in December 2017 to challenge Lomachenko, and has an opportunity to collect a belt in a division teeming with talented fighters.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________