Undefeated featherweight standout Gary Russell Jr. describes himself as "the oldest of six boys and we were always fighting for the attention" in advance of Saturday's fight for the WBO's vacant featherweight belt against two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
"Three brothers that actually competed in boxing with me. I had a brother that was actually older than me, Devaun [Drayton] but he passed away before his time," said Russell, of Capitol Heights, Md. (24-0 with 14 knockouts). "I kind of wish that he was here with us now but unfortunately, he isn't. I live for him. But just the sibling rivalry, man, it pushed me to be the fighter that I am today."
A 2008 U.S. Olympian, Russell was declared by WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel in October to be the WBO’s mandatory challenger to face then-beltholder Orlando Salido.
The ruling did not preclude Salido from making a voluntary defense against Lomachenko, which he did on March 1. Lomachenko fell by split decision but Salido lost his belt at the scales after failing to make the 126-pound weight limit.
As a result, the title became vacant.
Lomachenko, 26, had said he had wanted to make history by becoming a titleholder in what was being billed as his second professional fight. According to Fight Fax Inc., Lomachenko is actually 7-1 because he was paid to take part in six World Series of Boxing contests.
FILM FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS MUHAMMAD ALI-JOE FRAZIER, JOE LOUIS, SUGAR RAY ROBINSON, THE KLITSCHKOS
A film about Joe Frazier's racially polarizing victory over Muhammad Ali on March 8, 1971 will be among televised five documentaries to be aired on consecutive Thursday evenings this summer on HBO2.
The festival will begin on June 26 with the powerful Ali-Frazier I: One Nation…Divisible and conclude on July 24 with the Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward trilogy detailed in Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward.
The complete schedule is as follows:
Ali-Frazier: One Nation…Divisible: June 26, 7 p.m. ET/PT: The film chronicles the remarkable events and personalities surrounding the fight that reflected the cultural divide of the United States in the 1960s and early '70s.
Regarded by many boxing observers as "The Fight of the Century," the match featured two undefeated heavyweights squaring off at New York's Madison Square Garden in a contest that was much more than a title bout. The documentary was awarded a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in 2001.
Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion: July 3, 7 p.m. The documentary reviews the life of the man many consider the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in history.
The Sports Emmy-winning documentary explores his unparalleled ring career, the innovations he brought to the business side of the sport and his intriguing lifestyle.
Joe Louis: America's Hero…Betrayed: July 10, 6:45 p.m. The film tells the story of the legendary boxer, born 100 years ago, and his tremendous impact on segregated America.
The documentary reveals how the grandson of slaves became one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, served as an iconic figure in World War II and later carried himself with dignity and class through numerous setbacks.
Klitschko: July 17, 6 p.m. The documentary chronicles the dynamic brotherhood of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko from their humble beginnings in the Soviet Union to their dominance as reigning world heavyweight champions.
A production of Broadview Pictures funded by Film-Und Medienstifung NRW, the film was directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt and nominated for the 2013 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary.
Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward: July 24, 6:30 p.m. This movie revisits one of boxing's greatest rivalries: The three-fight slugfest between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward.
The blend of interviews, thrilling ring action and previously unseen archival footage presents a fresh look at the electrifying trilogy forged by two ring warriors.
MCWILLIAMS ARROYO-FROILAN SALUDAR, CESAR SEDA RETURN ON JUNE 19
McWilliams Arroyo will face Froilan Saludar in an IBF flyweight title eliminator bout and junior featherweight title challenger Cesar Seda will face an opponent to be determined on a June 19 Golden Boy Live! card at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday.
The winner between Arroyo (14-1, 12 KOs) and Saludar (19-0-1, 12 KOs) could be in line to face RING number seven-rated flyweight and IBF titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng.
Seda is returning to action for the first time since December, when he was dropped in the fifth round of a unanimous decision loss to WBC beltholder Leo Santa Cruz.