NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. will make the second defense of his title when he faces top challenger Oscar Escandon Saturday, March 11 in the main event of boxing’s first visit to the recently opened MGM National Harbor in Maryland. Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) and the WBC Interim Featherweight Champion Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs) will meet in one of boxing’s most talented divisions that continues to deliver exciting action fight after fight.
Additionally, WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo will defend his world title against No. 1-rated challenger Charles Hatley. Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs), whose twin brother Jermall holds the IBF Junior Middleweight Title, will face his mandatory challenger Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) after winning the vacant world title with a sensational eighth-round knockout of John Jackson in May 2016.
"I’m a gladiator getting ready for a tough battle," said Russell Jr. "This is going to be a huge night for my family. We have a lot of firsts happening on March 11, including the first fight at MGM National Harbor. This will also be the first time as pros that I get to fight on the same card as both of my little brothers, (unbeaten bantamweight) Gary Antonio and (2016 U.S. Olympian) Gary Antuanne, plus my brother Gary Allan will work all of our corners. We’re excited to get in the ring and show the fans what we’re capable of doing in the ring."
Tickets for the live event, promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $150, $100 and $50, and are now on sale. To purchase tickets go to www.mgmnationalharbor.com. The main event is co-promoted by Sampson Boxing.
"We are thrilled to be promoting the first fight at the new MGM National Harbor," said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "Bringing such a competitive matchup as Gary Russell Jr. vs. Oscar Escandon to kick off their boxing events is not only a great night for us and our other partners, but the fans in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region."
"This is a monumental moment for us as we welcome our friends at TGB Promotions, as well as sports fans throughout the DMV region, to our first championship boxing event at The Theater at MGM National Harbor," said Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. "We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our new resort and world-class entertainment venue to boxing fans worldwide."
A speedy and supremely talented boxer, Russell Jr., was impressive in his fourth-round stoppage of the battle-tested Jhonny Gonzalez that earned him the title in March 2015. The 2008 U.S. Olympian had scored important victories over Vyacheslav Gusev, Juan Ruiz and Miguel Tamayo before losing a majority decision to Vasyl Lomachenko for the WBO 126-pound title in June 2014. The southpaw, of Capitol Heights, Md., most recently scored a dominant second-round TKO victory over Patrick Hyland in his first title defense in April 2016.
Fighting out of Ibague, Colombia, Escandon turned pro in 2008 and was undefeated in his first 22 professional bouts. Escandon won an interim world title at super bantamweight in 2014 when he defeated Tyson Cave in his U.S. debut. He earned his shot at Russell Jr. last March when he survived an early knockdown to score a knockout victory over Robinson Castellanos in the seventh round of their showdown in Washington, D.C.
Younger by one minute than his brother Jermall, the Charlos became the first pair of twins to hold world championships in the same weight class when Jermell won his belt on May 21, 2016. The 26-year-old from Houston trains in Dallas and is unbeaten since turning pro in December 2007. Charlo took on a steady slew of contenders on his way to a world title including victories over Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado and Joachim Alcine.
The first-time title challenger Hatley enters this fight on a nine-bout win streak after traveling to Australia to beat former two-time world champion Anthony Mundine by 11th round stoppage in 2015. The Dallas-native turned pro in 2008 after an impressive amateur career that saw him defeate Keith Thurman on his way to a U.S. National Amateur Championship. The 31-year-old won his first 14 fights and went his first 18 bouts without a defeat.
For more information follow on Twitter @MrGaryRussellJr, @TwinCharlo, @TGBPromotions, @MGMNatlHarbor and @Swanson_Comm or become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SHOBoxing and www.Facebook.com/MGMNationalHarbor.
Fort Washington, MD - Kings Promotions made a return to Rosecroft Raceway Saturday night putting on a highly competitive, 7-bout card in front of a packed house. Undefeated junior welterweight and local Forestville, MD product, Mykal Fox would again headline the card in the main event. Fox came into the night on a 12-0 record. He would face a knock-out artist in challenger in Tre'Sean Wiggins from Newburgh, NY. Leading up to the fight, Wiggins had a record of 7-2 with six knockouts. He'd last fought on April 15, 2016 losing a split decision against Benjamin Whitaker in Verona, NY.
Fox known as, "The Professor" (black trunks with gold trim), has established himself as a technical fighter who is well trained in using his reach advantage to pick apart most of his challengers. Tonight served to be his toughest test and his physical reach advantage likely saved him from taking damage early on in the fight. Fox began the contest from his natural southpaw stance but he seemed to be carrying his right hand particularly low. Wiggins picked up on this fact and attempted to counter Fox's jabs with overhand lefts and left hooks to make Fox pay for the oversight. Wiggins made no attempts to disguise his intentions though and began head-hunting early in the fight and found some success at the times that Fox would remain stationary. Whatever opportunity existed for Wiggins in that area was short lived. By closing period of the 2nd round, Fox had made his adjustments. Wiggins was chasing the same game plan from early in the fight and was looking to catch Fox coming in. He never fought to work his way inside which allowed Fox to box in his comfort zone and stay at his punching range but keep Wiggins just outside of his own. Wiggins would retaliate with flurries at times but the blows would either fall short or glance off the defenses of Fox. The scheduled 8 rounder would go the distance with Fox winning by split decision 76-76, 77-75, 78-74. The bout didn't appear to be that close to me but the experience will definitely contribute to Fox's development as he extends his winning streak to a 13-0 record.
Luther Smith of Bowie, Maryland would also make his return to the ring against Darnell Pierce of Austin, Texas. This would be Smith's second fight at cruiserweight and he seems to have found a home at this weight class that lines up appropriately with his skills and power.
At the outset, Smith (black trunks, red trim) controlled the distance and movement of the fight making Pierce respond to his actions. Pierce's game plan seemed to be to play the counter game. But Smith's head movement and footwork put him ahead on most exchanges. Pierce was often flat-footed in the fight and while he had control of the center of the ring early, he didn't take it. Smith ceded it to him, preferring to dictate his range from the outside. In boxing, when one fighter allows the other to control distance, determine where the fight takes place and is playing catch up in exchanges, fight math usually provides a definitive answer. Smith rose from a crouched, guarded position and delivered a thunderous right hook, ending the night for Pierce. Smith moves to a 7-1 record with six KOs.
Other highlights on the card included Tyrek Irby (black trunks, gold trim), another Forestville, MD fighter against Lamont White (blue trunks, white trim) from nearby Waldorf, MD meeting at the 140 lbs. weight class. White would switch stances in the fight to give Irby different looks and to disrupt his timing but Irby's accuracy and speed proved to be the deciding factor in this fight. Irby fought behind his jab skillfully and would control most of the action in the ring. After the scheduled four rounds, Irby was declared winner by unanimous decision.
Patrick Rivera of Edgewood, MD vs. Greg Clark of Washington D.C. at the super middleweight class got the party started early with the first scheduled bout. Rivera was a World Kickboxing Association champion at the amateur ranks and has recently brought his skills to the boxing ring. After a slow start, there was plenty of give and take by both opponents, as the fight advantage seem to swing from one side to the other during the scheduled 4-round affair. In the end, Clark came away with a split-decision win, 39-37, 39-37. 37-39.
Justin Hurd laid his claim on the evening by stopping Dawond Pickney of Hot Springs, AK at the end of Round 2. Hurd is the younger brother of Jarrett "Swift" Hurd, the undefeated (19-0) title prospect making his way up the ladder of the super welterweight division. Justin Hurd didn't really establish any one punch during the fight. He worked the body of Pickney early using it to set-up overhand rights. But, realizing he had a speed advantage over Pickney, he was content with using feints and footwork to create and attack openings. The outmatched Pickney was hurt with a right hand from Hurd at the end of the second round and could not answer the bell at the beginning of 3rd, as ringside doctors deemed him unfit to continue. The TKO finish takes Hurd to 2-0.
Greg Outlaw Jr. of Bowie, MD faced off against Kashon Hutchinson of Reading, PA at 140lbs. Outlaw started the fight in orthodox stance vs. Hutchinson's southpaw stance. The traditional goal in the battle of open stances is for each fighter to get their lead foot to the outside of their opponent's lead foot which creates an advantage in attack angles. Outlaw seemed to understand this and was winning the footwork game which extended to his early effectiveness in the fight. About half-way through the 4-round bout, Outlaw would switch stances. While he remained busy, he didn't land as many clean shots as he did earlier. Hutchinson fought behind a Philly Shell (a style Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has made famous), exhibiting solid defense but unable to get Outlaw to respect any of his offense. Outlaw was the more aggressive fighter early but I believe the shift in stance allowed Hutchinson to make up ground and pull the fight closer. The judges scored the bout, 38-38, 39-37, 40-36 in favor of Outlaw who starts his early career at 2-0.
Marcus Bates of Washington D.C. scored a late knockout with a straight right against Alec McGee of Reno, NV in the final round of their scheduled 6-rounder. The shot was so clean that the referee, Kenny Chevalier never bothered to start a count, ending the fight immediately. Bates improved to 6-0-1 with now 6 KOs.
Kings Promotions closed out another solid boxing event in the DMV area. If you're interested in coming out to future contests or for more information go to www.kpboxing.com.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do with additional training in Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.
Norfolk, VA - Spartyka Fight League 27 took place on Friday, January 27th at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia. In the main event title bout, Mitch "Smashin Frog" Aguiar took on Ryan "The Hammer" Balintfy at 170 LBS. The stellar 16 fight card was the southeast Virginia promotion's first of the year. Sanctioned by the Global Combat Alliance (GCA), the Spartyka Fight League was started by Jim Partyka in 2010.
SPARTYKA 27 RESULTS
If you would like more information on Spartyka Fight League's upcoming fights, visit their website at www.spartykafightleague.com.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do and is also a practitioner of Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.