On the evening of November 2, 2019, Gary Antuanne Russell returned home to Maryland for a 140-pound showdown with former Olympian Juan Huertas. In a matter of two rounds, the District Heights, Maryland native dazzled his hometown fans and dismantled Huertas to claim the 12th stoppage victory of his career. Since then, he’s added former champions like Viktor Postol and Rances Barthelemy to his resumé and improved his pro record to 16-0 with 16 stoppage victories. Having elevated to the upper echelon of the super lightweight division, he’s returned home for the 17th challenge of his career — Kent Cruz.
On fight night, Russell evolved into a 140-pound diamond. Stepping into the ring moments after fellow District Heights native Travon Marshall suffered his first loss, the 140-pound contender did what he needed to do to restore the energy in the room. The youngest of the fighting Russell brothers stepped on the gas early with thunderous shots to the body, sending Cruz to the ground twice. After the second knockdown, Cruz founds himself on the ground writhing in pain much like Ryan Garcia did against Gervonta “Tank” Davis earlier this year. With the win, Russell improves to 17-0 with 17 knockouts while Cruz falls to 16-1-3.