Boxer Gary Antuanne Russell of Capitol Heights took an important step Saturday night toward helping his family make more boxing history.
Russell captured the 141-pound open division title at the Washington Golden Gloves Tournament at Waldorf Jaycees Community Center and is one win away from advancing to the national finals in Las Vegas, where he could become the fourth Russell brother to win a title.
Other Prince Georges County winners at the Washington finals, which includes fighters from Washington and Maryland, included 178-pounder Justin Bell of District Heights, and Russell’s brother, Gary Antonio.
The Washington champions are scheduled to meet the winners from Virginia/North Carolina for the right to advance to the national finals on April 26 in Waldorf.
Gary Antuanne defeated Nigel Fennel (Downunder) of Salisbury with steady diet of body punches and combinations.
“Be fast. Blind him with the jab. Power to the body,” Russell said, crediting his corner’s instructions during the fight. “Slide in, touch both sides to the body.”
Russell’s brothers Gary, Jr. (2005), Gary Allen (2010) and Gary Antonio (2013) have already won national Golden Gloves titles. Local Golden Gloves officials said there have been other sets of three brothers to win national titles, but they are unaware of four brothers accomplishing the feat.
Nevertheless, Gary Antuanne is approaching his run in business-like manner.
“It feels normal because I’ve been (boxing) for so long,” he said. “To me, it’s like, if I do win it, which I’m working hard to do, it’s just, ‘hip, hip hurray,’ that’s about it. It’s not going to be a big celebration.”
For the second week in a row, Bell survived a standing eight count to advance.
Hagerstown’s Genc Pllana was aggressive from the start, pinning Bell against the ropes with multiple punches twice, with the second flurry drawing the eight count.
“He surprised me with his power just a little bit,” Bell said. “He came out throwing bombs.”
Between rounds Bell got an earful from coach Bernard Roach and a hard smack on the butt as he walked out for round two. It worked as Bell hurt Pllana early and dominated the round.
“He was a strong fighter, but I knew if I let my hands go and kept walking to him, I could get the fight back,” Bell said.
Both fighters were noticeably weary in the third, but Bell scored enough to earn the decision.
In the 152-pound championship, Zarifbek Nishanbaev (Raw Assasin) of Lanham lost in what looked to be a close fight to Malik Hawkins (Upton).
Gary Antonio Russell’s walkover in the 123-pound category was another step toward defending his Golden Gloves national title from a year ago. That would make him just the second area fighter — Sugar Ray Leonard being the other — to win twice.
Perhaps the best fight of the night belonged to Washington’s Russell Gaskins, who fights out of Enigma Gym with the Russell brothers and Tavon Body (Headbangers) in the 165-pound final.
The pair pounded away in the center of the ring for three rounds, both connecting with numerous shots. Body won the fight that could have gone either way despite Gaskins competing with a bicep tear in his left arm.
Baltimore’s Anthony Nembhard, who fights out the Sugar Ray gym in Hyattsville, won the 201+-pound title against Calvin Countess (Charm City).
Other open division winners included:
In the 201-pound contest, Milik Titus (Upton) defeated Stephen Morris (Umar) in fight stopped in the first round;
Malik Jackson (Limelite) defeated Paul Jerry in the 114-pound class;
Jalen Jones (Limelite) defeated Jalonte Cole (No Xcuse) in the 132-pound class, and:
Demetrius Young (Sugar Ray Gym) won the 108-pound title in a walkover.
The novice division’s best fight may have been the 141-pound contest between Headbangers teammates Tyrek Irby and Siprano Zeledon. Irby bloodied Zeledon’s nose in the first round, but Zeledon continued on, pressing Irby throughout before losing the narrow decision.
In other novice division results:
Kollin Shrewsbury (Nomis Gym) won the 114 pound class in a walkover;
At 123 pounds, Albert Sostre (Sugar Ray Gym) lost to Cody Woodland (Woodland Rec) in the first round;
Taylor Woodward (Woodward Rec) defeated Juan Melsur (Infinite Gym) at 132 pounds;
Shynggyskhan Tazhibay (Raw Assasin) defeated Monyae Gregory Upton for the 152-pound title;
At 165 pounds, Tyrell Boyd (Upton) defeated Francisco Bustos (Champions Gym);
At 178 pounds, Jordan Payne (Woodland Rec) defeated Demarvae Cutchember (Cross 4 Christ);
Jordan Davenport (Mack Lewis Gm) defeated Phillip Murray (Laurel BC) at 201-pounds, and;
Carlos Black (Champions Gym) defeated Johnathen Surratt (Tony’s Gym) for 201+-pound title.