By Tré Berry III🖊️
If anyone forgot, 🇺🇸“Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (31-1-0, 18KO👊) set out to remind people of his elite standing at the Featherweight division as he successfully defended his WBC Title for a 5th time, defeating a skilled, tough challenger in 🥈🇲🇳Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar (11-1-0, 9KO👊) to give him his first loss in the pro ranks. This victory keeps the channels open towards Russell continuing to pursue marketable elite match-ups hovering at and around his division that he can now shift his full focus towards.
A GRAND ENTRANCE
To start off, I’m going to give Gary Russell Jr. some brownie points for the “🎥🎬Coming to America” themed ring entrance, one of the more interesting ring-walks of recent note. An early shocking note was the fan and supporter turnout as many of Tugstsogt Nyambayar’s people hopped on the plane from Mongolia all the way to Allentown, PA to support their fighter, and while Russell geographically is much closer of course, being the fighter from Maryland, it felt like Nyambayar had equal, or even more support in the 🏟️PAL Center venue.
Russell’s blinding hand speed was on display early, as he landed a couple of quick left hands that Nyambayar didn’t see coming in, only seeing them when Russell was pulling his hands back as he was gauging and getting used to Russell’s speed. Gary stuck to the right jab often early against his orthodox opponent while Tugstsogt was looking to close the range gap before he would make the internal decision to commit. Russell with the obvious hand-speed advantage took the initiative of being first often to get a control of the challengers movements. It felt like by the 4th round, even though Russell was scoring very well and tacking on the points, Nyambayar was getting closer and closer to his desired range.
King Tug’s 🗣️Head-Trainer Ismael Salas prior to the 5th round accurately told his boxer that he was fighting a little too tight, and Tug seemed to be receptive to his critique, and came out much more relaxed in the middle rounds and had pretty solid ring generalship in the round, cutting the ring off, and landing some decent right hands on the elusive 🎯target named Russell who was looking to adapt to the adaptations made on the Nyambayar side. Nyambayar started to amp up the speed of the right hand and landed it of power variety often in the 6th round, and for the first time in the fight, Russell started to look a little bit uncomfortable throughout the daily flow of the fight. Though Russell was up, there was a 📈momentum shift taking place in favor of the challenger, and the 7th round was an excellent one with both fighters putting their foot on the gas pedal, trying to grab control of the moment.
KEEN OBSERVATION🔎 One thing that Russell seldom gets credit for is his chin, with his speed and other gifts usually getting the bulk of the attention. Russell has one of the best chins and punch resistance overall in all of boxing, and it was helping here, as Nyambayar landed some pretty good shots periodically, but Russell would eat them to continue his action and committing to his volume punching of variety. Russell started to get cooking, understanding that Tugstsogt was looking to further press the action to put an imprint on the fight, reminding people in attendance as to why he is a highly touted talent despite the inactivity in his career.
There was a pretty big second momentum shift for Tugstsogt Nyambayar who was cleverly putting together combinations and easily did his best work of the fight in the 9th and 10th rounds, with timing becoming a factor in switching up his punch sequences, and perhaps a little fatigue starting to play a role in the action as Russell’s technique unraveled a little bit. Round 11 was a very busy one, with strong ebb and flow ↔️back n forth with each fighter landing quality shots, but Russell late took some control in the stanza after he landed a right hook, left overhand combination. With the 🛎️12th round bell sounding and the action underway, they both went for it, and Nyambayar put together some very impressive work late to take control of the round, although he couldn’t find the ingredients to get the knockout he would need as he had too steep of a hole to climb out of after the dominant start by the Champion.
The fight went the distance, and although the verdict was a correct one, the scores felt too wide, failing to indicate the quality of the back-and-forth fight. Russell would however win by Unanimous Decision to defend his WBC Featherweight Title for a successful 5th defense of his Title and once again makes a claim as being arguably the best fighter in the Featherweight division, or at least ranking with the highest of elite talent at the weight. Speaking of weight and weight classes, conversing with 🎤Interviewer Jim Grey after the fight, Russell once again has shared his desires to move up if he can’t get that “marquee elite name” that he continues to seek in his own division, and has stated that he would go as drastic as to make an old school jump up to the ⚖️135 LB. Lightweight division to search for the major fights there.
DESIRED TARGETS FOR RUSSELL – The most likely match-up for Gary Russell Jr. to get next at high level is 🇲🇽Leo Santa Cruz, as he continuously pushes toward getting that fight, willing to follow him in weight no matter where he goes to do what he can to get that major fight. Russell would also like to avenge his only loss to 👑♛🥇🥇🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko, who soundly defeated Russell in their Featherweight contest en route to Lomachenko making history. Russell like any other fighter or man has a lot of pride in trying to reverse his fortune and outcome against, and is willing to go for the major prize at Lightweight. Anytime we’re talking Gary Russell, having another scheduled fight in 2020 is highly unlikely, but it would be wise for him to fit in another fight in the calendar year to increase his chances of getting a major fight.
🤜 Gary Russell Jr. = 134/857, 15.6% Landed.
🤜 Tugstsogt Nyambayar = 122/707, 17.3% Landed.
OFFICIAL SCORECARDS ✎🗒️
✎ Glenn Feldman = 116 – 112 for GARY RUSSELL JR.
✎ John McKay = 117 – 111 for GARY RUSSELL JR.
✎ David Bilocerkowec = 118 – 110 for GARY RUSSELL JR.
PROJECT COMBAT SCORECARDS ✎🗒️
✎ Tré Berry = 115 – 113 for GARY RUSSELL JR.
✎ Jon Uddin = 118 – 110 for GARY RUSSELL JR.
King Tug Meets Mr. Russell for WBC World Title Fight in Allentown
Behold, we have a Gary Russell sighting. WBC Featherweight Titlist 🇺🇸“Mr.” Gary Russell Jr. (30-1-0, 18KO👊) is coming off of a 9 month layoff, which is the shortest of his career (more on that to follow) during his tenure as a WBC World Titlist, and will have a stern test waiting across from him inside the ring at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, against undefeated #1 mandatory WBC world contender & former Olympic Silver-Medalist 🥈🇲🇳Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar (11-0-0, 9KO👊) as the headliner to Showtime World Championship Boxing’s 🗓️February 8 fight card.
TUGSTSOGT “KING TUG” NYAMBAYAR
02/03/2020 | Tugstsogt Nyambayar & Fight Breakdown
Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar is a 🥈Silver-Medalist from the ◯◯◯◯◯2012 London Summer Olympics, coming in 2nd place to 🥇🥇🇨🇺Robeisy Ramirez in the Flyweight division. Nyambayar is of Mongolian descent, he has already made an imprint at the professional level, working himself into a #6 overall ranking by Ring-Magazine. Turning pro in 2015, he has worked himself up the rankings, and last year, he won a secondary vacant IBO title taking apart 🇩🇴Claudio Marrero by Unanimous decision.
Style wise I personally call Nyambayar “the 🇷🇺Dimitry Bivol of the Featherweight division” as his style is virtually identical to the talented Russian’s style that he implores in at Light-Heavyweight. Tugstsogt up to this point hasn’t had crossover market appeal, instead he has made an imprint on the hardcore pundits and serious watchers of the sport with his skill-level. He has a chance to take his stock a step further in facing one of boxing’s best natural talents on Saturday night, with a chance at winning the green strap to become an official World Titlist.
MR. GARY RUSSELL JR.
02/03/2020 | Gary Russell Jr. & Fight Breakdown
I could go on to say that Gary Russell Jr. is one of boxing’s biggest enigmas. He has an unofficial nickname floating out there, that being 📌”I fight once a year Russell”, and if you look through his track record as a Champion, the merit is legitimate. Winning the Title in 2015 from 🇺🇸Jhonny Gonzalez, he has had 4 title defenses, each in a different year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). Russell claims that he only fights once a year because nobody wants to fight him. Now there is partial truth to that, as he has become a boogeyman of sorts for those harboring around the ⚖️126 lb. division, as top-tier talent has openly avoided him. Where many people take issue with that though is that you can still take mid-level competition as assignments, or even fighting lower level fights just to stay active, stay in the public conscious, and give your fans a chance to see you, as boxing remains a 2-way street between personal goals, and obliging to what your fans want to see of you.
As a top flight talent, he has only lost 1 fight in 31 bouts, that coming against boxing savant 🥇🥇🇺🇦Vasiliy “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in June of 2014. Since then, Russell has rebounded to roll all of his competition easily with the exception of the talented 🇺🇸Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr., who gave him a very tough fight, a fight in which Russell emerged victorious in. Nyambayar with his skill level and pedigree should produce a challenge similar to JoJo’s, if not even more challenging for Russell, so one wonders how Russell will cope with this challenge to come.
02/03/2020 | Fight Prediction – All politics and issues aside, Gary Russell Jr. is easily one of the best fighters in the world from ⚖️122-130 lbs. He has the fastest hands in all of boxing, can be creative offensively when he wants to be, and is a stubborn defender who loves to park in mid-range to pick apart his prey. King Tug also likes to fight in middle-distance, but he also has the ability to bounce outside and step around, as a lively counter-puncher who likes to set a lot of traps, with the general idea put in place of how to nullify speed. This is one fight that I expect to go the distance, and I predict that it will be very close on the cards. One thing that I find eery about Russell is that as inactive as he is, he has never showed up to a fight rusty or lethargic, he always seems to be sharp come fight night. At some point, that may come to hurt him, but that’s ultimately a matter of chance. I will go with the WBC exchanging hands, with 📍“Nyambayar winning a close, debatable Split or Majority decision to become the new WBC World Featherweight Titlist”, and formally entering himself into the highest contingent of top-talent at Featherweight, as a first bold pick for the 🗓️calendar year of 2020.
Saturday, February 8th, 2020
PPL Center, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Featherweight Championship Contest
WBC Featherweight Title