Russell Jr, who started fighting at a young age, was a prodigious amateur and by the age of 17 had already claimed the 2005 US National Golden Gloves and the 2005 US National Champions. That same year Russell Jr would also claim a Bronze medal at the 2005 World Amateur Boxing Championships (with the Gold Medal being won by current WBA Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux).
After having an amazing 2005 Russell Jr's amateur career started to falter and although he won national championships in 2006 he was injured in 2007 and failed to win a medal at the 2007 World Amateur Games. The biggest heartbreak of all however was in 2008 when Russell Jr's Olympic dream was ended with him failing being unable to make the 119lbs weight division.
Following Russell Jr's Olympic nightmare he decided to turn professional and made his debut in January 2009 stopping Antonio Reyes in 3 rounds, a bout aired on “ShoBox:The New Generation”. By the end of 2009 Russell had raced to 6-0 (3) picking up 19 rounds of professional action as he started to develop his style from his amateur background into a more professional style.
Whilst Russel Jr had spent 2009 adapting his style he spent 2010 showing his power as he scored a further 7 wins with 6 by (T)KO including 5 wins inside a round to move to 13-0 (9) a a professional. Those wins included an opening round TKO over former world champion Mauricio Pastrana (who whilst not the fighter he once was, was still tough and had never been stopped so quickly).
Russell Jr was again kept busy in 2011 as he continued to face tougher opponents which included the tough and experienced Leonilo Miranda (who Russell dominated with his speed and movement) and former title contenders Feider Viloria and Heriberto Ruiz. It was the stoppage of Ruiz that really forced fight fans to take note with Ruiz going down hard and despite his eyes being open no one was home.
Despite being incredibly active between 2009-2011 Russell Jr fought only twice in 2012 as he dominated Mexican Christopher Perez scoring a very impressive 3rd round TKO having dropped Perez a number of times in a one sided affair and then stopped Roberto Castaneda in 3 rounds. So far he has fought once in 2013, beating Ukrainian Vyacheslav Gusev, though sadly Russell suffered a damaged left hand and may be out for most of the year as a result.
Whilst we don't expect Russell Jr to be rushed to a world title shot, the Al Haymon managed fighter has all the tools to be a long term champion at either 126lbs or 130lbs, and possibly even 135lbs in the future. We'd like to see Russell Jr in with more former title contenders or even former champions as he further develops as a professional and moves towards the upper echelon of the sport.
Video below thanks to theboxingarchiveblog