After a week to digest his disputed early stoppage to Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs), Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs), feels his latest performance will garner him another fight against a big name in the super lightweight division.
The fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining to throw 361 power punches out of 515 total thrown. At the time of the stoppage, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.
“Although I thought my fight against Gary Antuanne Russell was stopped early, I feel I gave the fans an exciting fight.” Barthelemy stated. “I was letting my hands go and I almost got him out of there in the opening round. Orlando Cuellar is my new trainer and he has me fighting in a more aggressive style. I know I have power and I know I can still compete at the championship level. I’m seeking another big fight by the end of the year.”
Barthelemy’s loss to Russel took place July 30th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on the undercard of Danny “Swift Garcia vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. live on SHOWTIME, a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“I love this sport and I will always have respect for the referees that work our bouts,” continued Barthelemy. “I just feel that Murdaugh made a suspect decision by stopping this fight. I showed I can compete with the best young fighters in boxing, and I just want an opportunity to close out my career with honor, without any controversy.”
Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions
The end might be near for heavyweight Adam Kownacki(20-3, 15 KOs) after he lost to Ali Eren Demirezen (17-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision (97-93 twice, 96-94) Saturday night at Barclays Center.
After back-to-back losses to Robert Helenius, Kownacki hoped to turn things around against Demirezen. However, Kownacki took a lot of punishment and was battling a bloodied eye late in the fight. Demirezen outlanded Kownacki 239 to 186. The two combined for a heavyweight record of 1766 punches.
The 33-year-old Kownacki last fight was in October 2021; according to him, he had some ring rust.
Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
“I’m a bit rusty; I think he was getting off first in the exchanges; I didn’t’ sit down as much; I think the rust played a part, being out so long,” said Kownacki. “I was out of the ring since last October; camp was good, but I don’t know, I was letting him get off… I went back to the old me instead of the first few rounds when I was doing good.”
Kownacki says he will talk to his wife about his future but would prefer to go out as a winner.
“I have two kids; I’ll have a long talk with my wife to see what I want to do,” he said. “I’ve had so many fights here, so many great memories, I don’t want to go out like a loser. I would like another fight to leave my fans with a win.”
After defeating Chris Arreola in 2019, many were saying Kownacki could fight Deontay Wilder for his WBC strap at Barclays Center. There was even some talk of Kownacki fighting Wilder in 2022 if he had beaten Demirezen.
However, it appears that Kownacki will never be the same after the fights with Helenius. He could stick around and be a gatekeeper, but that would mean he would continue to take punishment, which is not a good thing. Sadly, it might be in Kownacki’s best interest to call it quits.
Gary Antuanne Russell shines after a questionable stoppage.
Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs) delivered a sixth-round TKO (:50) over former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) in their super lightweight clash to keep his perfect knockout streak intact.
Russell, 26, landed a clean leaping right hook that dropped Barthelemy early in the round. While Barthelemy could get to his feet, referee Shada Murdaugh waived off the action, drawing boisterous complaints from Barthelemy, his corner, and the crowd in attendance.
To be blunt, it was a lousy stoppage. Barthelemy looked like he was in decent shape and could continue. Maybe Russell would have eventually stopped Barthelemy, so you could argue that Russell was robbed of a convincing ending.
“I know Rances is a high-grade, class athlete, and he wanted to continue,” said Russell, who revealed post-fight that he hurt his left hand in the fifth round. “Emotions were high. Whether we are bruised or beaten, as a warrior, you always want to continue, but the referee was doing his job, and if he was allowed to continue, it would have been the same outcome. I would have gotten him.
“In the sixth round, I had him backing up. I knew he was looking for his right cross, and I caught him backing up, and I shot my hook and put him down, he was buzzed, but he wanted to keep going. He’s a warrior.”
The 36-year-old Barthelemy says this loss is tough for him to handle.
“This is the most bitter loss of my career,” said Barthelemy. “I’m destroyed. Don’t get me wrong; this wasn’t Russell’s fault at all. I’m a veteran, and I had been through something like that plenty of times in my career. The referee treated me like a rookie instead of the two-time world champion I am…
“No, they shouldn’t have stopped it,” said Barthelemy. “I felt good. It was a good shot; I’m not denying that, but they shouldn’t have stopped it. I got up and told him I was fine and good to go. Of course, I want the rematch with a different referee.”
It was a competitive bout as the fighters threw within five total punches of each other per round across the bout, including combining to throw 361 power punches out of 515 total thrown. At the time of the stoppage, the score totals were 49-46 twice and 48-47 in favor of Russell.
Fighting for the first time since the passing of his father and lifelong trainer Gary Sr., Russell was led in his corner by his brother and former WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr., as he looks to continue his ascent in the 140-pound division.
“I want to tell my father up above I did it for him; we’re going to keep it going for pops,” said Russell. “This is something my dad instilled in us, no matter what you go through in life and death, two things are inevitable; he raised us to be men and well-rounded men. Being thorough means to be prepared, and he prepared us for boxing and for life outside of boxing. I thank my father, and I did what I had to do.”
Russell’s future does look bright, and he is definitely on his way to a title shot. As far as Barthelemy, who fought well on Saturday night, maybe he can get a rematch, but at 36, who knows how many fights at this level he has left.
Unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell held a media workout in his hometown of Capitol Heights, Md. on Monday, as he prepares to take on former two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in the telecast opener live on SHOWTIME Saturday, July 30 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by two-division champion ., as they look to build on the legacy left by their late father Gary Sr., the patriarch of one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families.
Here is what the workout participants had to say Monday from The Enigma Boxing Gym:
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
Photos: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
“I’m up against a fighting style that I believe is similar to Viktor Postol’s. Postol is a little more defensive, but they’re both long and rangy opponents.
“It’s of course a plus that I was able to be the first person to stop Postol. But at our gym and with our family, we don’t magnify fights like these. We pay attention to our credentials, and don’t really worry about what our opponents bring. The way we train, we’re not going to run into styles that we’re not accustomed to.
“With this sport, you have to have diversity in your style. Because you never really know what kind of opponent you’re going to be facing. They might change up their fighting style based on yours. We just strive for excellence and execution.
“In the Postol fight he tried to use his length to keep me at bay. But we executed our game plan. It wasn’t about overanalyzing our opponent, but we saw that we could exploit his flaws. He pulled back a lot and he didn’t want to fight on the inside. We tried to keep ourselves in comfortable positions.
“We train for perfection every day. We know that execution is what wins fights. If our opponent can’t make the necessary adjustments to keep us off them, then that’s on them. This sport is a battle of wits. My will versus your will and my intelligence versus yours.
“My brothers have always been in my corner. We all now are so tunnel-visioned on what’s important. Our motto in the gym is that the ultimate revenge is success.
“If we come out unscathed from July 30, we’ll start working on the next opponent and get another fighter with great credentials in there. We’ll be looking at fighting for the titles. Our goal was to clean out the division. That’s the first goal, then we’ll start moving up to other weight classes eventually.”
GARY RUSSELL JR., Gary Antuanne’s Brother and Trainer
“Our father was not just a magnificent father, but a teacher and a mentor. He molded not just men, but soldiers. He gave us the tools, the skills and the wit to properly maneuver through this jungle that we’re in.
“The biggest thing that our father taught us was versatility. That’s the biggest key with anything you do in life. I’m a great fighter because I’m versatile. A lot of these fighters are just really good at one thing. I don’t want to see someone who’s only good at fighting one style.
“I was always side-by-side working with my father when it came to working with my younger brothers. Even before I was going to fight, if they were on my undercard, I would work their corners as well. I think my father was somewhat always preparing me for this.
“Rances is a great opponent. Whoever wins this fight is getting a big leg up in their career. My brother is looking to take over the division. I don’t think there’s any fighter in the division who he couldn’t beat. He can run through these guys. All he has to do is listen, that’s it.
“Your corner is your last line of defense. As a fellow fighter, I understand that. My brother is still learning to adjust on the fly. He’s learning, but there’s still things left to tweak.
“My father touched so many people in the sport of boxing and played some role in where so many people have gotten in their careers. Whether it’s fighters or coaches, he was never shy about passing along jewels and information.”
Two-division world champion and Brooklyn fan-favorite Danny “Swift” Garcia will make his super welterweight debut against exciting contender Jose Benavidez Jr. in a 12-round showdown that headlines a stacked tripleheader Saturday, July 30 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also see Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki returning to the ring to take on Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in a 10-round heavyweight attraction, while unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell faces two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in a 10-round showdown to kick off the telecast.
A world champion at 140 and 147 pounds, Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) owns one of the sports’ most impressive resumes as he now seeks to add a 154-pound title to his list of accomplishments. He returns to fight at Barclays Center for the ninth time, where he headlined the first ever boxing show at the arena in 2012 in his SHOWTIME debut. The Philadelphia native’s run through the super lightweight division saw him defeat a string of champions including Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt. As a welterweight, the 34-year-old added triumphs over Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, and Robert Guerrero, defeating Guerrero for a vacant title in 2016. Garcia’s campaign at welterweight included narrow defeats to some of the sport’s most talented and rugged fighters –Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and unbeaten unified champion Errol Spence Jr.
“I feel blessed,” said Garcia. “I’m back like I never left. I can’t wait to return to the ring in front of the fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who have always supported me, and for all my fans across the country watching on SHOWTIME. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ returns July 30 and you don’t want to miss it!”
The 30-year-old Benavídez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) is the older brother of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavídez and is trained by his father Jose Sr. A long-established contender, Benavídez moved up to super welterweight in his last fight after dropping a 147-pound title showdown to Terence Crawford in October 2018. Benavídez fought Francisco Emanuel Torres to a draw last November, his first action in just over three years. The Phoenix-native had previously earned wins over contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana and Frank Rojas on his way to that world title opportunity against Crawford.
“This is a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup and both of us have something to prove,” said Benavídez. “It’s going to be a great fight for the fans. I feel strong and I know I will end this one on fight night. I’m bigger and stronger than he is and come July 30, he will see the difference in power between us.”
The 33-year-old Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) returns to the friendly confines of Barclays Center where he has previously fought 10 times, compiling a 9-1 record with five knockouts. Born in Lomza, Poland before moving to Brooklyn when he was seven, Kownacki will step back into the ring after dropping a pair of explosive, fan-friendly fights to Robert Helenius. He owns victories over former world champion Charles Martin and former title challengers Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His August 2019 battle against Arreola set CompuBox records for heavyweights in combined power punches thrown and landed.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially back home in Brooklyn at Barclays Center,” said Kownacki. “I’m ready to show the world that Robert Helenius just caught me at a complicated time in my life, where juggling being a new father and a fighter was a new experience and learning how to manage both was something I needed to learn how to do. For this fight, my family went away to Poland while I’m in camp so I could only focus on boxing. It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. Demirezen is coming off a couple big wins, so I know he will bring his ‘A’ game, but I need to beat him to be back in the heavyweight mix. Our fight on July 30 will be action-packed with my hand being raised in victory.”
A 2016 Olympian for Turkey, Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs) has fought out of Hamburg, Germany in the professional ranks since turning pro in late 2016. The 32-year-old won his first 11 pro fights, including a second-round stoppage of Rad Rashid to capture a European heavyweight title in 2018. Demirezen’s first U.S. outing came in 2019, when he became the first person to go the distance against Efe Ajagba, losing by decision. Since that defeat, Demirezen has scored five-straight victories, including defeating former title challengers Gerald Washington in January and Kevin Johnson in May.
“I’m very happy to fight in the U.S. again on July 30,” said Demirezen. “After my big win in Miami [in January], I’m very confident I’m going to give everyone a great fight in Brooklyn. I’m ready for anything Adam Kownacki brings to the ring and I want to make a big statement with a win over him.”
A native of Capitol Heights, Md., Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) will be continuing on the legacy left by his late father Gary Sr., as he belongs to one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families and trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio. The 25-year-old Russell has yet to allow an opponent to make it to the final bell since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Most recently, Russell added the most impressive professional victory of his career thus far, as he became the first person to stop former champion Viktor Postol in their February clash on SHOWTIME.
When asked about his fight against Barthelemy, Russell cryptically said, “Deforestation is just a phase that shows there’s more space for growth and conquer,’’ and then stated that he would explain what he means after winning this fight.
A native of Havana, Cuba now fighting out of Las Vegas, Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) added two victories in 2021, winning a unanimous decision over All Rivera in January before stopping Gustavo David Vittori in two rounds in November. A world champion at 130 and 135 pounds, Barthelemy owns notable victories over Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco, Mickey Bey and Denis Shafikov. His only professional loss came in a 2018 140-pound championship rematch against Kiryl Relikh, with the only other blemish on his record coming via a draw versus former champion Robert Easter Jr. in 2019. Barthelemy also comes from a fighting family, as he is the middle brother between the younger Leduan and the older Yan, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
“I’m thrilled to be competing on SHOWTIME, especially against an undefeated young lion like Gary Antuanne Russell,” said Barthelemy. “He’s knocked out every opponent he’s faced, but he’s going to find out real quick that I’m on another level. I’m more determined than ever to take this young kid to school. Don’t be surprised if I take him out, as I’ve been working on my power and explosiveness. The new and improved version of myself will be on display July 30 in Brooklyn.”
Undefeated rising star Chris “Primetime” Colbert, whose mix of speed and power have quickly made him a fan favorite, will seek his first world title when he takes on WBA Super Featherweight Champion Roger “The Kid” Gutierrez in the SHOWTIME main event Saturday, February 26 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast kicks off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature another unbeaten young phenom in the co-main event. Gary Antuanne Russell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, faces former world champion Viktor Postol in a 10-round super lightweight bout, while IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Jerwin Ancajas defends his title against unbeaten Argentine Fernando Martinez in the televised opener of the loaded tripleheader.
Representing his native Brooklyn, N.Y., Colbert (16-0, 6 KOs) has quickly shot up the 130-pound rankings, taking on high-level competition in his first 16 pro fights. Already established as a fighter with dazzling boxing skills, Colbert showcased his ability to fight toe-to-toe with an 11th-round stoppage of Jaime Arboleda in December 2020 before most recently besting Tugstsogt Nyambayar in July 2021. The 25-year-old turned pro in 2015 and defeated three unbeaten fighters in his first eight contests. Prior to the Arboleda fight, Colbert scored a highlight-reel first-round knockout against Miguel Beltran Jr. in September 2019 and a dominant 12-round decision victory over former champion Jezzreel Corrales in January 2020.
“I’m super ready for my title shot,” said Colbert. “This has been a long time coming, but it’s no shocker to me. This was always the expectation. I know Gutierrez will come to fight. He’s a champion for a reason. So he’s not coming to lay down. But I plan to put him down and I’m willing to do whatever I have to do on February 26 to make that happen. I know a lot of people have been waiting to see when I get this title shot and now it’s time.”
The 26-year-old Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs) captured his world title with a unanimous decision victory over Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in January 2021, in a fight that saw him drop his opponent three times. Gutierrez followed up that performance by defending his world championship and defeating Alvarado a second time in August 2021, again earning a unanimous decision. Fighting out of his native Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gutierrez is unbeaten in his last seven outings, including four knockouts.
“First of all, I want to thank God, my mother, my team, my promoter and the WBA for this opportunity,” said Gutierrez. “It cost me a lot of effort to win the world championship, this is my second title defense and I am ready to give it my all to retain it. On February 26, I am going to show the world that I am the best at 130 pounds.”
Russell (14-0, 14 KOs) has yet to allow an opponent to make it the distance against him since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Russell added five more stoppage victories in 2019 before knocking out Jose Marrufo in the first round in February 2020. The 25-year-old most recently dominated Jovanie Santiago in May on SHOWTIME, on his way to a sixth-round stoppage. Russell belongs to one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families and trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio.
“I’m going to make sure I’m prepared mentally and ready to perform at a high-level for this fight,” said Russell. “These fights come down to who’s more mentally stable, and that’s a matter of training. I train my mental as much as I do physically. I’ve watched Postol fight before and I know that he’s a rangy fighter with a European style. He likes to stay at a distance and that works best for him. He leans on his strengths. Every fight I come in planning to make a statement. My prediction, I’m ending this fight in round five.”
A feared contender in the 140-pound division, Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) returns to the ring after losing a narrow majority decision to then unified champion Jose Ramirez in August 2020. Fighting out of California and originally from Ukraine, Postol, knocked out Lucas Matthysse in 2015 to capture a super lightweight world title before losing a unification showdown against Terence Crawford. Postol has won three of his last five fights, with the only defeats in that stretch coming against Ramirez and current undisputed champion Josh Taylor, both by decision.
“I accepted this fight as soon as it was offered,” said Postol. “I haven’t fought in a while and I wanted to get back in the ring as soon as I could. I’m especially excited that I’m going to have the opportunity to face a good young opponent on February 26.”
Representing the Philippines, Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KOs) was only 15 years old when he was spotted by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The young fighter blossomed with Pacquiao’s guidance, becoming the first world champion under Pacquiao’s promotional banner when he outpointed McJoe Arroyo for the IBF title in September 2016. The 30-year-old southpaw hasn’t lost since and will be making the tenth defense of his title, following an April 2021 unanimous decision over Jonathan Rodriguez.
“I am thrilled to be back on SHOWTIME defending my world title on February 26,” said Ancajas. “It’s very exciting to be making my tenth world title defense in the first Las Vegas fight of my career. I want to thank my whole team for giving me this great opportunity to fight on this PBC event on SHOWTIME.”
A resident of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Martinez (13-0, 8 KOs) most recently knocked out Gonzalo Duran in the fourth round of their August 2021 showdown and will be making his U.S. debut on February 26. The 30-year-old rose up the rankings by stopping Athenkosi Dumezweni in his home country of South Africa in 2019, following that up with a decision over Angel Aquino in December 2020. Martinez turned pro in 2017 and owns an amateur victory over former title challenger and super flyweight contender Andrew Moloney.
“I’m excited to have this great chance to show my skills on the big stage in Las Vegas,” said Martinez. “I’m going to leave it all in the ring on February 26 and give all the fans watching an exciting fight. My goal is to become world champion and this is the night for me to prove myself.”