By Paul “Paparazzi” Jones | Photo © Paul “Paparazzi” Jones
OXON HILL, MARYLAND–After two false starts, reigning WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) and Interim WBC titlist Óscar Escandón (25-2, 17 KO) are set to reboot their match-up for a third time on Saturday.
Russell and Escandón’s first scheduled fight (November 14, 2015) was scrapped due to a cut Russell suffered during training; Escandón pulled out of their second scheduled fight (March 11, 2017) due to a back injury. However, both fighters were on target at Friday’s weigh-ins at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Official weights forRussell Jr. vs. Escandón:
Russell Jr. — 125.5
Gary Russell Jr. vs. Óscar Escandón(Main Event; 12 ROUNDS): Russell and Escandón face-off ahead of their title fight on Saturday, May 20. The bout marks Russell’s second defense of his WBC title. Escandón,a top challenger and former Colombian Olympian, looks to win his second fight in a row.
Other selected weigh-in results:
Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) — 167.5 vs. Jose Uzcategui (26-1, 22 KOs) — 166.5 (12 ROUNDS): Dirrell and Uzcategui square off in a title eliminator; the winner will be in pole position for a shot at the interim IBF super middleweight title and a mandatory fight against reigning IBF Champ, James “Chunky” DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs). A win for the 33-year old Dirrell could pave the way to rematch against DeGale, whom Dirrell dropped a unanimous decision to in an IBF title fight back in 2015. A victory for the lesser known Uzcategui would be a considerable upset.
Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy (25-0, 1 ND, 13KOs) — 139.5 vs. Kiryl “Mad Bee” Relikh (21-1, 19KOs)— 139.5 (12 ROUNDS): Two-division champion Barthelemy faces the hard-hitting Belarusian Relikh in a WBA junior welterweight title eliminator. This bout could be Saturday’s fight of the night with the winner squarelyin the crosshairs of Julius Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) as a mandatory challenger for Indongo’s WBA title.
Gary Antonio Russell (7-0, 5 KOs) — 119.6vs.Jovany Fuentes (7-8, 6 KOs) — 120.6: SUPER BANTAMWEIGHTS– 6 ROUNDS.
Gary Antuanne Russell (Pro Debut) — 137.6vs. Joshua Ross (2-3-4)— 139.2: SUPER LIGHTWEIGHTS– 4 ROUNDS.
The SHOWTIME® telecast opens from London, England with a battle of unbeatens:Boxing’s youngest world champion, 22-year-old IBF Junior Lightweight champ Gervonta “Tank” Davis (17-0, 16 KOs)defends his title against undefeated British southpaw Liam “Destiny” Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs).■
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More from “Paparazzi”Jones:
|RUSSELL JR. VS. ESCANDÓN|
|Tale of the Tape|
|Where:||The Theater at
MGM National Harbor
Oxon Hill, Maryland
|Titles at Stake:||WBC World FeatherweightChampionship|
May 20, 2017
|TV:||PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS -SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®│ 6 PM ET/ 3 PM PT|
|*Per LasVegasSportsBetting.com – May 14, 2017|