Allentown, PA isn’t typically a boxing hotbed, but on Saturday February 8th the PPL center will have some gold on hand as the WBC World Featherweight title and the WBA “Regular” Bantamweight titles will be on the line as we’ll see at least one new champion crowned on the evening.
Gary Russell Jr. (30-1-0 18 KO) will be the main event, as he defends his WBC featherweight strap against Tugstsogot Nyambayar (11-0-0 9 KO) the IBO featherweight champ and a much taller opponent.
Russell Jr is a fantastic fighter. He hasn’t suffered a loss since 2014, and the cagey southpaw took Vasiliy Lomachenko to a majority decision, earning a draw from one judge. He unfortunately right now is a once a year fighter, so to see him in action you’ll have to tune in or scrounge up a ticket.
Nyambayar is no slouch, but is also an infrequent competitor with not a lot on his professional resume. Russell has the experience in competition and experience. Other than believing in size and reach only. It’s hard to imagine picking Nyambayar.
The other title fight for the night will feature former champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1-0 13 KO) facing off against former flyweight champion Liborio Solis (30-5-1 14 KO). They will battle for rights to the WBA “Regular” Bantamweight title in the co main event of the evening.
Solis is a multiple time title challenger at bantamweight but he has yet to get his hands on gold. Rigondeaux is a former Olympic gold medalist (2000 &2004), a former unified champion, and former lineal champion. He’s only lost to, again, Vasiliy Lomachenko. Freddie Roach has called him the greatest talent he’s ever seen. He’s the bigger man and should handle Solis slickly and quickly.
Elsewhere on the card, you’ve got some interesting fights. Jamie Arboleda vs Jayson Velez for a WBA super featherweight title eliminator should be good, and Marlon Bolen risks his 0 against the also undefeated Osmel Mayorga as they both look to continue their fledgling careers unbeaten. Plus Rajon Chance makes his pro debut, always a special moment for a fighter and one fans should appreciate.
If you’re a fan of Gary Russell, you’ll get to see him fight three times. Gary Allen Russell is the headliner, but his brothers are also fighting on the card, and also all named Gary Russell. Their middle names (all starting with A) are different. Gary Antuanne Russell is a 12-0 fighter with knockouts in all of his wins. The budding super lightweight prospect takes on Jose Marrufo. Gary Antonio Russell is a bantamweight fighter, who is 16-0 with 12 KOs taking on the highly experienced Jesus Martinez.
It’ll be a fun Saturday night in Allentown as the Russell family does battle and Rigondeaux attempts to make another run in his already storied career.