Former U.S. Olympian and DMV native Gary Russell Jr. (15-0, 9 KOs) is up first on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo in an 8-round featherweight contest against Antonio Meza (24-10-1, 20 KOs) in Hidalgo, Texas. We’ve never seen Russell fight in person but he’s widely considered the most promising prospect from the area and is the oldest in a string of brothers boasting the same first name and blinding handspeed inside the ring.
Russell is five years younger at 23 and one inch taller though Meza comes in a pound heavier. Their reaches are the same. Russell in shiny green trunks with white stripes while Meza is in black. Round-by-round updates after the jump:
Round 1: Russell has world-class quickness and impressive snap behind his punches. He fights with his right hand low but never looks in danger of getting hit. Russell fights out of a southpaw stance and uses his lead hand to great effect. He is throwing the straighter and more accurate punches in this opening round and using his jab to control the flow of the fight. Meza looks too slow to give him much trouble. 10-9 Russell.
Round 2: Russell throws a lot of jabs; not all of them land or even come close to landing, but they all dissuade the slower Meza from trying to get inside. When he does get inside Russell fires off two quick body shots that back up the Mexican. This is admittedly against mediocre competition but Russell is showing off impressive skills and athleticism while dominating these early rounds. 20-18 Russell.
Round 3: Russell is finding his range with the jab now and landing his combinations to both the head and the body. Thus far his display has been clinical. His punches are precise and very little motion is wasted. Very little to criticize thus far.
Russell catches Meza with two straight left hands along with a right and scores the first knockdown. Russell helped him down with a sweeping blow to the back. He keeps up the attack but stays under control, hurting Meza again with another combination. Meza is game but he is out of his league tonight. 30-26 Russell.
Round 4: Russell keeps up the pressure this round and shows no signs of letting up. Meza to his credit is not daunted and keeps trying to trade, but Russell consistently beats him to the punch. Russell backs off a bit to catch his breath, but catches Meza with rapid one-two that lands perfectly and sends Meza down again.
The Mexican gets back up but a series of lefts and rights drops him a third time and prompts the ref to stop the fight. He lay Meza flat on his back to receive medical attention. Russell flexes his pecs in celebration. He looks like he barely broke a sweat.
That was a very impressive performance from Russell. He belongs on ShoBox or at a minimum ESPN’s Friday Night Fights for his next bout. With Fernando Guerrero’s loss on Friday night he probably takes over as the most promising prospect in the Mid-Atlantic region.