Tuesday, June 25, 2024  |


Jhonny Gonzalez to Gary Russell Jr.: ‘Be ready to go to war.’

Fighters Network
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images


Jhonny Gonzalez looks to make a third successful defense of his WBC featherweight strap when he meets lightning fast southpaw Gary Russell Jr. Saturday evening on Showtime (10:00 p.m. ET/PT) at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nev.

Gonzalez (57-8, 48 knockouts) enters the bout on the back of five straight victories since he lost his WBC belt to Daniel Ponce De Leon in Sept. 2012. He regained the title with a stunning first round knockout of Abner Mares; victories over Clive Atwell and Jorge Arce have followed.

Fighting the once-beaten Russell looks to be a stylistically tough outing for the veteran champion; his trainer, Hall-of-Famer Nacho Beristain agrees but believes in his fighter nonetheless.

“It’s difficult fight,” Beristain told RingTV.com, “because Jhonny has trouble with southpaws but we worked with good sparring for him and I’m sure Jhonny will win.”

You don’t achieve as much in this sport as Gonzalez and Beristain without putting together a good game plan.

Arce also acknowledged Gonzalez’s underrated skills and ring I.Q.

“He knows the rhythm of a fight,” Arce told RingTV.com in a recent “Best I Faced” feature. “He has the timing of the fight when he wants to come and fight inside. He came to me and he punched me and then he disappears. When he felt I’m going to hit him with a good punch, he moves. He was very smart.”

Gonzalez has been working with Beristain at the famed Romanza Gym in Mexico City as well as running at high altitude in the mountains of Toluca.

The 33-year old champion watched Russell’s lone pro loss to Vasyl Lomachenko last summer and took some pointers from that fight.

“[Russell] is fast and throws great combinations,” said Gonzalez. “We’re doing a great strategy [focusing on] speed and strength. My body punches will be the clue. He’ll be in for a surprise.”

Although the boxer/puncher has 65 fights on his resume, he hopes to add a junior lightweight belt to his three titles in the near future.

The tough Mexican had one short but simple message for Russell: “Be ready to go to war. I will.”


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright