Gary Russell Jr. has another successful WBC featherweight title defense and is now ready to face bigger opponents.
In the co-main event bout of the May 18 Barclays Center boxing card on Showtime, Russell stopped Kiko Martinez late in the fifth round to retain his title. The stoppage was due to a ringside physician ruling that a cut above Martinez's left eye was too deep to allow him to continue.
Russell dominated the fight, landing various combinations to Martinez which nearly hurt him on a number of conditions. Martinez had some moments of offense where he looked to be in control of the fight for brief moments. Martinez received the cut early in the fight and Russell targeted the cut with his fast punches until the fight had to be stopped.
After the fight, Russell once again declared his intent on facing WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, a fight that has been built up by PBC for well over a year with no guarantee of it ever happening. Russell was asked about a potential fight against WBA super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis if the Santa Cruz bout isn't made and Russell simply said he would probably try and go for Miguel Berchelt's WBC title if he were to move up in weight.
The 30-year-old Russell has held the WBC title since 2015 when he stopped Jhonny Gonzalez in the fourth round of their fight. Since then, Russell has only fought once per year throughout his title reign and last fought in May 2018 when he defeated Joseph Diaz Jr.