3 More Rounds

Gonzalez vs Russell set for March 28


Jhonny Gonzalez is set to defend his WBC featherweight title on March 28 when he takes on Gary Russell Jr.

After his shocking first round knockout victory over Abner Mares in August of 2013 to capture the title, Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KO) has successfully defended his title twice, including a dominant performance against Jorge Arce last October.

“I’m very excited to be coming back to the United States. Every time I have fought on American soil, it has been career-changing for me,” Gonzalez said. “In 2012, [Daniel] Ponce De Leon stopped me in Las Vegas and made me reconsider my whole strategy. I came back to the U.S. in 2013 and I stopped an undefeated champion, Abner Mares. Now I’m back and once again I’m facing a tough opponent. Russell is not an easy test, but I’m confident I’m going to surprise everybody once more. Nobody thought I had a chance in 2013 and I stripped Mares of his title. Food for thought.”

Russell (25-1, 14 KO) was unsuccessful in his first shot at a world title last June. He was out-pointed by WBO featherweight champ Vasyl Lomachenko. Russell bounced back with a decision victory over Christopher Martin in December and he is once again getting a crack at a world title.

“I’m blessed to be back on this stage, fighting once again for a world title,” Russell Jr said. “I came up short at my first opportunity for the title and that has me more motivated than ever to get the job done on March 28. I will finally hold up my very own belt.”

Also set for the card is a super welterweight matchup between Jermell Charlo and Vanes Martirosyan.

Charlo (25-0, 11 KO) is undefeated, but he will arguably be facing the toughest opponent of his career in Martirosyan.

“I love fighting on Showtime and I’m excited to put on a show for the fans in Las Vegas,” Charlo said. “I have a tough opponent, people think I might not be ready, but on March 28, they’re going to know that I’m taking over the sport.”

After his split decision loss to Demetrius Andrade in November of 2013, the first loss of his career, Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KO) has won his last two fights, including a victory over Willie Nelson last October. A victory over Charlo would put him right back in position for another world title shot.

“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m just thankful to get the chance to showcase my talents,” Martirosyan said. “Charlo is a tough kid, but I’ve been around this sport longer and I’m going to show him some things he’s never seen before. The fans better get ready for an awesome show.”

This doubleheader takes place at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and will air on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

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