Gary Russell and Tugstsogt Nyambayar (Photo: Amanda Westcott – SHOWTIME)
By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, Feb. 8, WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. successfully defended his title by winning a unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar. The fight aired on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions event from PPL Center in Allentown, PA.
Scores reading 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112 went in Russell’s favor, but the contest was far from a walkover. It was the fifth title defense for Russell (31-1, 18 KO’s) and the first loss for the 26-year old Nyambayar (11-1, 9 KO’s).
“We put the work in every day in the gym,” said Russell. “I’m a perfectionist. We knew we had a very tough opponent and I knew he was going to bring his physical best. He had everything to gain and nothing to lose. We just focused and showed I’m one of the longest reigning champions for a reason.
“The difference was ring generalship, hand speed and boxing IQ,” Russell added. “He only had 11 pro fights, of course he was an Olympic silver medalist, but he only had those 11 pro fights. I’ve had over 30 and I think my experience was enough to overcome and win this fight.”
Nyambayar noticably picked up his work rate in the second half of the fight, but it wasn’t enough.
“It wasn’t my night,” said Nyambayar. “He was the better man tonight. I didn’t do my work the way I was supposed to. He is a great champion who fought a great fight. I made a mistake by waiting for him during the fight. I’d love the rematch if I can get it.”
Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com