Gary Russell Jr. is a professional boxer who was born on June 5, 1988, in Washington, D.C. He knew from a young age that he wanted to have a career in boxing, and that passion paid off handsomely as a teenager. After training throughout most of his childhood, Russell Jr. became one of the best amateur boxers in the country by winning the United States Championships and National Golden Gloves tournaments in 2005 at the age of 16. The dominance in the United States earned him a trip to the 2005 Amateur Boxing World Championships in Mianyang, China. Russell Jr. lost only one fight during the prestigious tournament, but he was still only able to take the bronze medal in the bantamweight division.
Russell Jr. once again proved that he was the best amateur boxer in his weight class by winning the 2006 U.S Championships. This earned him a trip to the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Chicago, but he ultimately lost in the second round. While Gary was able to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he never got to compete after missing the final weight-in.
The disappointment in Beijing caused Gary Russell Jr. to focus on turning pro. He made his professional boxing debut in a match against Anthony Reyes on January 16, 2009. Russell Jr. won the fight by technical knockout in the third round. After seven straight wins to start the professional career, he fought in his first six-round match against Jairo Delgado on February 19, 2010. He won the fight with a technical knockout in the first round.
Gary Russell Jr. appeared in his first fight scheduled for eight rounds on January 28, 2011. He secured a unanimous technical decision victory over Feider Viloria in the seventh round. The fight was stopped early after Viloria sustained a massive cut from an accidental headbutt. Russell Jr. started his professional career with 18 straight wins before he got to appear in his first 10-round fight. That match occurred on November 26, 2011, against Heriberto Ruiz. While the fight was scheduled to go 10 rounds, Ruiz was knocked out two minutes into the first round.
After starting his professional career with 24 straight wins, Gary Russell Jr. finally got his first world title shot on June 21, 2014. The fight was against Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko for the vacant WBO featherweight title. The Ukrainian was only fighting his third professional match after a record-setting amateur career. Lomachenko dominated most of the fight before winning by a majority decision.
Russell Jr. did not let the first loss hinder his impressive career. He followed up the loss with a unanimous decision victory over Christopher Martin Pena. This win earned him a shot at Jhonny Gonzalez’s WBC featherweight title on March 28, 2015. Gonzalez was defeated by technical knockout in the fourth round. Gary successfully defended his new WBC featherweight title for the first time against Ireland’s Patrick Hyland at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville, Connecticut, on April 16, 2016. Hyland was knocked out in the second round.