Diaz Refuses To Let Russell Look Past Him
Two days before two former United States Olympians face off, WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. and his opponent Joseph Diaz Jr, spoke to the press from the site of their title fight.
Russell knows Diaz is a tough opponent, but refuses to call Diaz his toughest opponent since Vasyl Lomachenko.
“It’s difficult for me to know if ‘JoJo’ is my toughest opponent since Vasyl Lomachenko because I never train with a lot of worry about my opponent, Russell told reporters on Thursday.
“I believe in my ability to make the necessary adjustments, no matter what my opponent brings to the ring. If he wants to come in and box, we are equally as comfortable boxing long ranged as we are making the fight rugged. In order to be great at anything, you have to have a level of versatility. That’s something I bring to the table that a lot of fighters don’t bring.
Russell sees this fight with Diaz as a proving ground. Telling the press that if he is able to defeat Diaz, he has plans for unification or potentially moving up for a rematch with Lomachenko, who he lost to in 2014.
“If we can get through this bout, I would love to get in the ring and unify with any of the other featherweight champions. The timing is perfect right now for any of these unification fights. If they still don’t want it, I’m willing to move up in weight to meet any of the guys who have a name. It’s time to make it happen.”
DIaz isn’t happy that he’s being overlooked by Russell Jr, and i looking to make his first ever world title shot count.
“I absolutely think Gary is overlooking me. I think he underestimated me. I’ve trained for this my whole entire life, Diaz told reporters Thursday afternoon.
“This opportunity has been presented to me by my hard work and it’s really the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t wait to show everybody my skills and what I’m truly about.
Diaz, who is trained by his father, Joseph Sr, is looking to win big for his family on May 19th in Baltimore.
“It would mean everything to win this world title. Not just for myself, but for my whole family. All the hard work and struggles that we’ve been through, it’s finally here. I’m going to do everything I can to come out victorious. Our lives are going to change and I’m going to inspire the youth and the people around me. I want people to know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”