FightHype’s Hans Themsitode recently caught up with former world champion Gary Russell Jr., who had a lot to say about several topics, including future showdowns with Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis. Unfiltered and direct, Russell held no bars discussing his views on fellow boxer Shakur Stevenson, along with others making waves in the boxing world.
High Praise for Shakur Stevenson
During the discussion, Russell Jr. was highly complimentary of Stevenson. He said, “I’m one of them people that give credit when credit is due. I feel as though Shakur, out of all of them, is the nicest. I think he can fight better than any of them.”
The veteran boxer was keen to emphasize that his admiration for Stevenson was in no way a declaration of inferiority. Russell made it clear that despite his respect for Stevenson, he was always ready to challenge him. He said, “When Shakur was at 126, I was on his line too. Don’t get it twisted.”
Russell’s Respect for Stevenson
Russell Jr.’s respect for Stevenson goes beyond the latter’s fighting skills. The boxer appreciates Stevenson’s humility and dedication to his craft. “I like Shakur.. I give them credit if his credit’s due,” Russell declared.
Russell recounted an instance when Stevenson was asked about a potential fight between him (Russell) and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis. Stevenson’s response, according to Russell, was, “I ain’t gonna lie…I sparred with both of them and the hardest I ever been hit was by a Right Hook by Gary Russell Jr.” This frank acknowledgment of Russell’s strength is one of the reasons why he admires Stevenson.
Why Stevenson Over Davis and Haney
Russell also elaborated on why he believes Stevenson would beat both Tank Davis and Devin Haney. His reasoning is based on Stevenson’s superior technique, not just his athleticism. “I just think he’s more put together. A lot of the other guys, they’re just athletic,” Russell noted. “Shakur is more fundamentally sound than a Devin Haney or a Tank or these other guys.”
Russell’s Open Challenge
Despite his respect for Stevenson, Russell is far from stepping down from a challenge. He maintains that Stevenson “can get it too,” underlining his readiness to face the young boxer in the ring. “I just got a little respectful for Shorty because he at least came down to come and get some good hard strong-ass work,” Russell added.