(Photo by Mike Greenhill)
Capitol Heights, MD's "Mr." Gary Russell, Jr. successfully defended his WBC Featherweight Championship with a unanimous decision over a very game and very tough Joseph "Jo Jo" Diaz, Jr. of South El Monte, CA in front of a packed and partisan crowd at MGM National Harbor Casino in Oxon Hill, MD.
Early on, Russell landed extremely quick flurries and was able to use his hand and foot speed to his advantage.
In the third round, Diaz started to score with wicked body shots with his right hand. Diaz seemed to be in control while Russell was suffering from an injured hand that may have hurt in that round.
As the bout reached the midway point, Russell's output increased as he made adjustments with his positioning and Diaz could not use his right hand body shot as effectively. Russell landed effective punches that gave the advantage back to him.
Diaz ended the bout with a solid 12th round but he did not do enough to gain the victory. Dave Braslow saw the bout 115-113 while judges Dave Moretti and Nathan Palmer scored the contest 117-111.
Russell makes the third defense of his title and is 29-1, 17 KO's. Diaz loses for the first time in his pro career and he is 26-1, 14 KO's.