Gary Russell Jr defeats Tugstsogt Nyambayar to retain WBC title!
In a highly competitive bout, Gary Russell Jr (31-1, 18 KOs) outclassed mandatory challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111, 118-110) to retain the WBC title for the fifth time at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The champ began the fight very sharply in the opening rounds with his renowned hand speed. The southpaw threw sharp jabs and left hands as Nyambayar applied steady pressure.
Right jabs from Russell were the key to his early rounds success. He would use that punch to high effect to gain an early lead over the first four rounds.
Spurred on by the Mongolian contingent in the crowd chanting “King Tug, King Tug ”, Nyambayar upped the intensity and his work-rate during the middle rounds as he got closer to the mark.
The problem was he was not able to sustain his attack, largely due to the fact that Russell was constantly a step ahead.
From a technical standpoint, the challenger was doing a lot right. It was just a case of the champion simply being better through eight rounds.
However in the ninth, “King Tug” began connecting with power punches on Russell, who looked to be showing signs of fatigue. With the action taking place more and more in the center of the ring, the championship rounds turned more and more into a fight as the crowd cheered their approval at the final bell.
After the fight, Russell mentioned that a rematch with unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is personal for him. However, he realistically called for a showdown against WBA “Super” world 130-pound champion Leo Santa Cruz.
He also suggested he’s willing to move up to the lightweight division if he cannot get the long anticipated bout with Santa Cruz. Whatever direction he takes next, a couple of things are clear at this point.
It’s time for the 31-year-old from Capitol Heights, Maryland to start making some serious moves.
He’s too good to be fighting just once a year, too good to not be engaging in higher-profile fights within the featherweight, super-featherweight or even the lightweight division.
With his mandatory challenger now out of the way, let’s hope we see more from the fighter known as “Mr” in the future. He, and we as boxing fans, deserves more.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.