WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. and Joseph Diaz Jr. held their final press conference Thursday before their May 19, clash, at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon, Maryland. It will not be only a clash of Juniors but also a clash for former Olympians. Gary Russell Jr. participated in the 2008 Olympics, while Diaz Jr. was part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. The two combatants will meet for the WBC Featherweight World Championship. It’s easy to see how the composure, etiquette and vacillating respect these “juniors” display is rooted in more than mere sportsmanship. The fight will be part of Showtime Championship Boxing telecast. The fighters were joined on stage by their fathers Gary Russell Sr., Joseph Diaz Sr. and Showtime President of Sports & Events Programming, Stephen Espinoza.
WBC Gary Russell Jr. is chomping at the bit to get back in the ring after a year off, and eager to defend his title. Russell Sr. stated the long wait was due to politics. However, Russell Jr.’s main goal is to get a rematch with pound for pound king Vasyl Lomachenko. The Russells believe in the prestige of the WBC strap. “As long as I have this strap, nobody is walking in here and taking it.” He knows Diaz will be at his best but Russell is not concerned. “I believed in my ability to make necessary adjustments no matter what my opponent brings to the ring.” Russell Jr also heap praised on his opponent. “Diaz worked his way up the ranks to get this fight. He did everything you have to do to get in position to fight for the world title.”
Number 1 contender, Joseph Diaz Jr. believes it is his moment. “I absolutely think Gary is overlooking me.” Diaz Jr. continued to say he was very excited for a chance at the title. “I trained for this my whole life. This opportunity has been presented to me by my hard work.” Diaz Jr. confidence is sparked by his trainer Diaz Sr. “It’s a blessing to be in this position. I really believe that God didn’t bring us this far only to bring us this far.” Russell Jr. is fast fighter. Joseph’s a little slower but he’s actually faster than most people think.
Russell Jr. stated he thought it was ironic that both are trained by their fathers. “I think that that’s pretty cool because at the end of the day that’s your last line of defense. When you go to your coaching, that’s your last line of defense. When everything goes wrong in the ring, you go to your corners and your corners gives you instructions what’s going wrong and why it’s going wrong, you have to have a level of trust and belief in your corner.”
May 19, 2018, that trust will be on full display when the two combatants enter the ring at the MGM Harbor part of a two-part Showtime Telecast featuring Russell Jr. vs. Joseph Diaz Jr. in the U.S. and Adonis Stevenson vs Badou Jack in Toronto.