Gary Russell Jr. stops Escandon in Round 8
Gary Russell Jr. successfully defended his WBC featherweight title for the second time with an eighth-round TKO of Oscar Escandon in the main event of a Showtime Championship Boxing card in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Saturday.
In the first round, Escandon looked tough but overwhelmed by Russell’s handspeed, particularly in the form of the laser-guided uppercuts that repeatedly snuck in from below. In the second he turned that toughness into offense, though, and the now-energized firefight evened out a little. A little.
A big right hook knocked Escandon down in the third, and with a full two and a half minutes left it seemed unlikely that the wobbly Colombian would survive. He gutted it out and made it back to his stool, though, and in Round 4 jumped right back into the fray.
The story was the same for the rest of the fight: high punch-volume from both sides, a lot of heart from Escandon and skillfully delivered damage from the fast, accurate hands of Russell.
A combination punctuated with a left hook put the rubber back in Escandon’s legs in Round 8, and referee Harvey Dock stepped in to halt the fight.
With the win Russell (28-1, 17 KOs), from nearby Capitol Heights, Maryland, continues his emphatic comeback from the only loss of his career – an excusable majority decision against pound-for-pound prodigy Vasyl Lomachenko. It has been a slow process, though; the loss was in June 2014 and in the following three years Russell fought just three times due to a mixture of business maneuvering and postponements. In his two most recent bouts, Russell notched stoppages of Jhonny Gonzalez and Patrick Hyland, the latter 13 months ago.
Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) was coming off a 14-month layoff.
A full report will follow.