The Russell brothers are working to carry out the legacy of their late father, Sr. Gary Russell.

Not long after the 2008 Olympic Games concluded in Beijing, China, Gary Russell Sr. was attending a professional boxing card in Los Angeles.

He approached the reporter, shaking his hand and offering comfort. His son, Gary Jr., was one of the world’s most elite amateurs and medalist, but Gary Jr. He couldn’t make weight in Beijing and not compete.

The reporter said, “I’m sorry,” but the elder Russell wanted none of that.

We did not hang our heads, and we moved, he said. Life owes you nothing, and you have to learn this.

Gary Jr. he went on to become the world’s thinnest champion and one of the best pros in the game.

Gary Sr. He was one of the most famous teachers in the country, although he is known to many primarily because five of his six children were given the first name Gary.

But Russell Sr. saw boxing as a way to change and save lives and has done so for countless young people in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. He died of type 2 diabetes in May, though in January, a few weeks after having his foot amputated, Gary Jr. was in a wheelchair. corner for his title defense against Mark Magsayo.

“My dad touched so many people in the sport of boxing and played some roles where so many got their careers,” Gary Jr. said. “Whether he’s a fighter or a coach, he’s never shy about passing on information.”

On Saturday, his two sons will follow in his footsteps. Gary Antoine Russell will fight former champion Rance Barthelemy at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a special televised event by Showtime.

He will not be in his father’s corner for the first time, but he will be a familiar voice. Gary Jr. he serves as his younger brother’s trainer.

The Russell brothers at the Enigma Boxing Club in Capitol Hill, Maryland.  (Amanda Stephen / Showtime)

The Russell brothers at the Enigma Boxing Club in Capitol Hill, Maryland. (Amanda Stephen / Showtime)

He knew that his father would not be present on the coming day, and he endeavored to be able to enter the vicarage, unless he was replaced.

“Our father was not only a great father, but a teacher and a mentor,” Gary Jr. he said. “He did not only create men, but soldiers. He has given us the tools, the skills, and the talent to navigate right through this leap we are in. The greatest thing our father taught us was versatility. That is the most important key when you do anything in life. I am a great fighter because I am versatile. A lot of these fighters are really good ones. I don’t want to see someone who is only good at fighting in one style.

“Since then, always working with my father, he worked with his younger brothers. Before I was going to fight, if they were on my undercard, I would even do their angles. I think my father is always preparing something for this.

Gary Antoine went 15-0 with 15 knockouts, following in his brother’s Olympian footsteps. Gary Antoine, who was the valedictorian of the high school class, arrived at the Olympic quarters in Rio de Janeiro, before being removed to Brazil.

But he will have a tough test against Barthelemy, a two-time champion who is 29-1-1 with one win. So far, Viktor Postol’s best opponent is Gary Antoine ahead of him. Postol stopped on the 10th of February, but he was not the first Postol. He entered the fight 3-3 in the last six and made it clear in the back nine of his career.

Barthelemy is still fighting at a higher level, but Russell is confident.

“We practice perfect every day,” Gary Antoine said. “We know that execution is what wins battles. If our opponent can’t keep saving from them, then it’s on them. This game is a battle of wits. My will against your will and my intelligence against yours.”

He said that Barthelemy has something similar with Postol, so the lessons he learned in Postol’s fight will take place on Saturday against Barthelemy.

It will be a bit sad for the Russells to be in the ring without their father, but death is a part of life and they want to carry on his legacy.

One of them is always ready for all situations.

“In the Postol fight, he tried to hold me in his pocket,” Gary Antoine said. “But we executed our game plan. It wasn’t about developing our opponent, but we realized that we could use his weaknesses. He withdrew a lot and didn’t want to fight inside. We tried to keep ourselves in comfortable positions.”

Gary Sr. He made them uncomfortable in so many ways in which he controlled his life and career. He pushed and refused and teased, always seeking the best from his children.

The best way to repay them is by going out and doing what they always wanted to do: be professional, prepared and execute the plan. That will be top of mind for both brothers on Saturday.

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