MARYLAND — Relaxing on the living room carpet floor, Antonio Russell challenges his oldest brother, Gary, Jr. in a X-Box game. Antonio picked Jeff Lacy and Gary, Jr. selected Evander Holyfield.
The No. 1 one amateur bantamweight champ in country taught the two-sport athlete a thorough lesson. However, on Saturday, at the Rosecroft Pro-Am Boxing Show in Fort Washington, presented by Keystone Boxing, Antonio, a 95 pounder, taught Roland Moss a lesson, where it mattered the most.
Normally, boxers competed against other opponents in the same weight class. Courageously, the kid from Nomis Boxing Gym in D.C., fought Moss, from Keystone Boxing, who outweighed him by 15 pounds.
Father and trainer, Gary Russell, Sr. said, that he was confident in Antonio’s ability and strength, and since boxing is a environment, where you can prevent kids from getting hurt, he didn’t worry about his son being injured.
Prior to the three round bout, Antonio knew that his foe weighed more. The first round completely belonged to Moss. Antonio initially tried to outbox Moss, until his father changed strategies.
“He wouldn’t let his hands go, he came to the corner after the opening round with a bloody nose, that kind of set a fire under him,” Gary, Sr. noticed. One thing for sure, Antonio will listen in the corner.
In the second and third rounds, Antonio walked in, pumped the jab, and wasn’t too relaxed. He placed his punches appropriately for his 50th victory.
Gene Molovinsky, a boxing promoter for 30 years, beginning at the D.C. Armory, incorporated this event, to let people know that the return of boxing is back in Prince George’s County.
“The fight was very good between both kids.Even though, I thought the fight was even, Antonio has a lot of potential, and it was my first time seeing him as a amateur. He fought my fighter and won,” the promoter said.
Personally, Antonio wasn’t satisfied at all with his performance. “My fight could’ve been a complete blowout,” he says. Based on being idle much of 2007, Antonio’s father gave him a “C” for showmanship, due to the kinks.
There aren’t enough local tournaments, according to Gary, Sr. and Antonio missed the Silver Gloves tournament in Kansas City and the Ringside Tournament in Georgia, because his father is preparing Gary, Jr. for the Olympic Box Off in Houston, later this month.
Once the Box Off concludes, father says, he’ll focus more on Antonio, and newcomer, Darek Russell. Playing basketball, going swimming and skating kept Antonio busy this summer. The return to school is eight days away.
Antonio has mixed emotions, but he’s eager to meet new, positive people. The eighth grade honor roll pupil attends Drew Freeman Middle School.
What motivates this disciplined student-athlete, is when he reflects on other kids, who are now on the street and homeless.
As the father and trainer of five sons, Gary Sr. sits comfortably on the couch, relaxing before he prepares dinner, elaborates whether Antonio will engage in two sports during the 2007-08 year.
“As for basketball, if he chooses to play, I’ll let him. But, by the time he gets home from school, and completes his homework, normally it’s time to go to the gym. Just have to see how he does academically, and how basketball effects his boxing training. Have to see what he truly wants to do.”
There are gunshots and carjacking activities in the Capitol Heights area, where Antonio resides. Nonetheless, he’s on point academically, athletically, and socially. Where do you see yourself in five years?
For a moment, he had to think.
Then, with a smile, he shouted, “In 2012, I’ll be in the Olympics.”