Antonio Russell Suffers His First Loss After Another Vicious Head Clash


Brooklyn, NY

By Ron Harris – The last fight for Antonio Russell and Emmanuel Rodriquez ended in 16 seconds of the first round when Rodriquez could not continue after a serious head butting.  The fight was ruled a no contest.  This fight went into the 10th round with no doubts who the winner was going to be after another serious, but unintentional head butt occurred when Russell was on the attack with complete knowledge that he was losing the fight.

Russell had no answers for the quick counter punches thrown by Rodriquez (21-2).  He staggered Russell several times during the fight.  Rodriguez was the stronger puncher who timed Russell’s jabs and left crosses all night with strong, accurate counters not seen since the great counter puncher Evander Holyfield.  “He was the better fighter tonight,” said Russell.  “I felt like he outpointed me.  I thought I picked it up after the 5th round, but it wasn’t enough.”

Rodriquez took the fight to Russell from round one on.  There was no feeling out process in this fight.  Russell tasted Rodriquez’s power in the first round but came back with stiff jabs of his own in round 2.  But Russell was unable to figure out Rodriguez.  He tried jabbing and throw left leads, but the southpaw  never hurt Rodriquez once.  On the other hand, Russell, 29, was staggered more than once and hit the canvas with a powerful right hand from Rodriquez in the 8th round.  It was the first time Russell has been knocked down as a pro.  “If you get knocked down with a good shot, you obviously feel it. People like to lie about that.  But I was conscious and was able to regain myself. It was the first time I was knocked down in a fight, but I was prepared for it.”  Many referees would have counted Russell out after staggering and stumbling to get to his feet.  Referee Benjy Esteves seemed to get lost in the count and he allowed Russell to get back to his corner as the bell sounded.  “I knew that I was dominating the fight,” says Rodriquez.  “When I knocked him down, I thought his corner should have stopped the fight.  He wasn’t right at that moment.”

At the start of the 10th round, Russell, from Capitol Heights, Maryland, was on the attack and both heads clashed so hard that Rodriquez hit the canvas and stayed on his knees until referee Esteves attended to him.  When he got to his feet, the ringside doctors looked closely at Rodriquez and determined that he could not go on.  The fight then goes to the scorecards by rule.  The judges scored the fight, 100-90, 99-91 and 99-93, all for Rodriquez.  Giving Rodriquez a Technical Decision.

Russell has tasted defeat for the first time (19-1).  He is still a ranked fighter among Bantamweight fighters and should get some good fights to get back to championship contention.  This was Antonio’s first fight without his late father, Gary Russell, Sr in his corner.  Gary, Jr has taken over for his father as chief trainer for his brothers.

Photo credit:  Stephanie Trapp

About Ron Harris

Ron Harris, retired college administrator, coach, broadcaster, Internet and TV sports producer and host. Former radio host of a live call-in show.  Extremely close to the sports landscape in the Washington, DC metro area. Former radio sports reporter, covering MLB, college sports, major boxing events and much more.


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