In the first of a regular series of October diaries from Las Vegas, Russ Anber looks ahead to a busy month and reflects on his past experiences in the fight capital of the world. Today Russ writes about getting back in the swing of boxing after the experiences of lockdown…  

The next few weeks are kind of complicated for me – but they’re good complications, so I can’t complain.

I went into the Top Rank Bubble on Wednesday night ahead of two events that I’m working out here in Las Vegas. The first is tonight when I’ll be in Janibek Alimkhanuly’s corner for his middleweight fight against Gonzalo Gaston Coria, which is the co-feature to Emanuel Navarrete’s WBO featherweight title bout against Ruben Villa.

Russ Anber will be in the corner of Janibek Alimkhanuly (left) tonight.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.

I’m then staying in the bubble for the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez showdown on October 17, which I think is the most anticipated fight of the year by far.

After Loma-Lopez, I’ll stay in Vegas for a few more days and then I’ll fly out to the UK for the Usyk vs Chisora fight which is set for Halloween night. So it’s going to be a heck of a busy month. Then I’ll get back to Canada and quarantine for two weeks. By then I’ll have found out if I’m going to work the Roy Jones vs Mike Tyson exhibition or if I’m going to Russia for Artur Beterbiev’s next fight.

I’ve been in the Top Rank bubble before back in August for Eleider Alvarez’s fight against Joe Smith. The most important thing for me is to make sure I take everything into the bubble that I’ll need to the next 10 or 11 days when I’m in there – my bucket, my tape, my gauze and everything else I need for the fights, plus some non-perishable food to keep in my room because the meal times in the bubble are set at certain times.

It’s a strange existence in the bubble and we’re definitely not back in a normal perfect world yet but at least we’re firing again and boxing is busy again, which feels great. It’s not how we want things to be forever but it’s much better than no boxing at all, like when we were in full lockdown.

I was speaking to Karen Mazzone today from Matchroom Boxing and we discussed this. We talked about how this isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s the reality of what the new world order is. Yes, we could sit around keep going on about how much it sucks, we could politicise it and complain about it … or we can make the most of it and get on with things.

The way I look at is this: it’s a new chapter, a new experience. Just when I thought I’d done and seen it all after 41 years in the boxing game, along came a pandemic to mix things up. 

But let’s face it, things could be worse – think about what previous generations went through – World Wars, bombs exploding around them! And think of all the people around the world who live in war-torn countries. Think of the poor people in Lebanbon, where my family originated from, for example, who have been facing unspeakable tragedy and challenges lately. Look at Yemen and Armenia. There is so much tragedy, poverty, war and hate in the world. Being in the bubble is the least of my worries.

Things could be much worse for us all. So we’ve got to do the best we can to make things better and meet the challenge of keeping boxing moving.

Russ Anber was talking to Luke G. Williams.

Russ is the founder/ CEO of Rival Boxing, as well as a highly respected trainer (of both pros and amateurs), a gym owner, a cut-man, an entrepreneur, a broadcaster and one of the best hand wrappers in the boxing business. Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk, Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith are among the many top boxers Russ currently works with.

Main image: Russ Anber pictured with Emanuel Navarrete who attempts to become a two-weight world champion against Ruben Villa tonight.