Undefeated Super Lightweight prospect Gary Antuanne Russell, the younger brother of featherweight champ, Gary Russell Jr. stepped up in class, scoring a dominant sixth round TKO victory over Jovanie Santiago (14-2-1, 10 KOs).
Santiago on Saturday was coming off a dubious unanimous decision loss against Adrien Broner – a fight that many ringside observers thought Santiago had won. Against Russell, Santiago was never in the fight at Dignity Health in Carson, CA.
Both fighters came out of their corners aggressively but Russell’s superior hand speed paid early dividends. Santiago tried to bully Russell by holding and wrestling a bit, but Russell’s sharp jabs wouldn’t allow Santiago to get close with any regularity in this Showtime bout.
Russell landed a menacing right hook ten seconds into the fourth and sent Santiago down to one knee. Santiago weathered more punishment and survived the round by holding and throwing just enough to keep Russell at bay, if only just. Having dispatched all 13 of his previous opponents by KO, Russell had never been past the fourth round as a pro.
Russell opened a cut over the left eye of Santiago in the fifth that left Santiago both bloodied and discouraged at the end of the round. Russell opened up a fusillade of punches in the sixth that led to one of the crueler rounds you’ll see. Russell set a blistering pace – at times it was almost like Russell had Santiago’s face on a string and was playing paddle ball with it. Santiago’s corner wisely chose not to let their charge off of his stool after the round.
It was a very mature performance from the 25-year-old fighter from Maryland. Russell did not try to rush a knockout by forcing the issue. He showed respect for his opponent and stayed composed throughout. But more than that, he showed off an electrifying skill set. Everything you might have wanted to see from a prospect, you saw in Gary Antuanne Russell on Showtime tonight.
In the post-fight interview, Russell called out Adrien Broner from the center of the ring. Should Broner accept the challenge, he will have a big “problem” at hand.
Subriel Matias (16-1, 16 KOS) vs. Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0, 14 KOs)
In a battle of Super Lightweight contenders, Subriel Matias (17-1, 17 KOs) kept his KO victory streak alive with an eight round TKO victory over a very brave and game Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1, 14 KOs).
Jukembayev came out sharp, landing a series of straight jabs and landing at least three excellent uppercuts in the first round. Matias found some offense at the end of the round, but his vaunted power was neutralized by Jukembayev’s superior technique. The second round started off much like the first, with Jukembayev controlling the action. However, Matias began to change the momentum of the fight with a series of punishing combinations that reddened the face of Jukembayev before the two fighters stepped to their corners at the end of the round.
The third round remained competitive, but Matias’ combination punching continued to become more frequent and more accurate.
Matias set a scorching pace in the fourth and could not miss Jukembayev’s face. A brutal left hook by Matias in the fourth sent Jukembayev flailing into the ropes and down to the canvas. Somehow, Jukembayev weathered the storm and landed a powerful left off his own to close a hellacious round of action. Miraculously, Jukembayev started out quickly in the fifth, and despite getting tagged with regularity by Matias, seemed to gain strength after nearly being out of the fight in the fourth. However, Matias simply does not stop throwing punches. And while many of them seem to be “arm punches” they all landed with a massive thud against the brow of Jukembayev. In a relentless seventh round, Jukembayev staggered Matias twice with powerful right hands that looked like they could turn the fight. Matias pays little attention to defense, and Jukembayev finally hurt him. After being staggered in the seventh, Matias took the fight back over in the eighth with a rate of volume punching that can only be described as ridiculous. While Jukembayev was able to stay on his feet, both of his eyes were beginning to close.
Jukembayev’s corner looked at their fighter and saw that their man could not see, and asked the referee for the stoppage.
After, Matias talked about the victory:
“I think this is what everybody expected. Everybody knew it was going to be a great war. This was going to end by knockout whether I was going to get knocked out or Jukembayev was going to get knocked out. I’m just glad it was me who knocked him out.
“After the knockdown, to be honest with you I could see that he was still strong. He was throwing punches that were still strong. I thought the fight was going to go a little bit further. But after the sixth round, that’s when I knew that I had him hurt.
“I’m an individual who studies my opponents very well. We have a great team and we knew from the beginning that we would be able to stop him.
“He knew he had nothing to lose. He came in and was doing everything strong. He knew that all he could do was knock me out to win. I would have done the same thing. That’s a warrior’s heart and he has all my respect.
“After that fourth round, I mean he is a very competitive fighter, so it turned into a war after that point. My hands go up to him as well. It was a great fight. I definitely have had other opponents that were very good but this is the one that has given me the hardest test.”
I’m not sure if Subriel Matias is a great fighter, but he’s a great fighter to watch. This bout was an absolute war. Whenever and whoever Subriel Matias fights next, I want to be in front of my television. His victory over a strong, undefeated opponent should propel him into the higher ranks of his class. Due to his lack of defense, he looks beatable, but who the hell is going to want to fight him? He simply does not stop.