In a competitive, entertaining fight, Gary Russell Jr retained his WBC featherweight title by unanimous decision against Joseph Diaz Jr.
Scores were 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111 for Russell. BLH had the fight 116-112 and 117-111, both cards for Russell.
Russell (29-1, 17 KO) came out looking to establish his speed and jab, and threw with much more volume over the course of the fight. But Diaz (26-1, 14 KO) made it a fight, largely with some strong body work, particularly in the first half of the bout.
The second half of the fight saw Russell pull away to some degree, as he was able to make veteran adjustments and keep Diaz from getting off much at all. Russell got back to using his jab and maneuvering Diaz around, and what he did most effectively was keep Diaz from capitalizing on that early body work. Diaz just wasn’t able to adjust to Russell’s adjustments, and that’s what lost him the fight.
But it was a spirited contest all the way through, too, and Diaz, at 25, showed he has world title potential, at least in my view. He’s a legitimate contender at 126 pounds. But it was Russell who was the better man tonight, and we can only hope to see the 29-year-old titleholder in action more often.