Local Boxer Gets His First HBO Fight

On Saturday, local boxer Gary Russell, Jr., will enter the ring for the most important fight of his career.

The fighter, who is 17-0 with 10 KOs under his belt, will appear on the undercard for the Jan Zaveck vs. Andre Berto main event on HBO. His opponent, Leonilo Miranda, is 32-3, (30 KOs).

The bout will certainly be worth the price of admission.

There are a lot of interesting things about the hometown athlete, including the fact that he's one of seven sons, all named Gary. He grew up in Washington, D.C., currently trains in Capitol Heights, Md., and is a two-time national champion and former Olympian.

But perhaps the most exciting thing about the young fighter is his quick hands, considered by some to be the quickest in the sport.

"I've been doing this a long time," said Russell to Yahoo! Sports. "With that, comes experience, and I've learned to relax and not get caught up in the hype. Yeah, it's my first time on HBO, and that's good. But you can't get caught up in, 'Oh, I'm fighting on HBO,' or 'Oh, I'm fighting on this huge card,' or 'I am fighting in front of a huge crowd,' because then you lose sight of what the true objective is, which is to perform and win.

"I want to be the best, and I feel that I can be the best. This is all I do, all I work for. God has gifted me with skill and timing to compete on this stage, and I'm trying to take advantage of what He's given me and improve on it."

He is arguably the best young prospect in the ring, and even the casual boxing fan will want to tune in on Saturday.

"He's got everything you would want to see in a fighter," said Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions. "He's not one of those guys who runs away, either. He's so fast, but he'll stand right in front of guys. He's knocked out guys who don't get knocked out. He's just one of those guys who comes along just every so often. He's got it all."

Questions, comments or tips? Email Sarah at sarahskogod@gmail.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@sarahschorno).

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