OXON HILL, Md. -- Featherweight world titleholder Gary Russell Jr. was the main attraction for his defense against mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. on Saturday night at the MGM National Harbor, but his two fighting younger brothers, both prospects, were also in action and notched victories.
Junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell and bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell, both from nearby Capitol Heights, Maryland, scored one-sided knockout victories with their older brother working in their corners.
The 21-year-old Gary Antuanne (6-0, 6 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, easily knocked out Wilmer Rodriguez (9-3, 7 KOs), 32, of the Dominican Republic, in the first round. Gary Antuanne, a southpaw, dropped the out-of-shape Rodriguez with a straight right hand to his ample midsection early in the round and then put him away with a combination to the body, sending him to a knee where he took the full count from referee David Braslow at 2 minutes, 54 seconds.
"It's my hometown and I expect my hometown to be behind me and support me," said Gary Antuanne, who had a large cheering section. "This was a great experience competing here at MGM National Harbor. It was electric. It wasn't my first time, but it always feels like home. It fills my heart up to be able to excite my hometown fans and give something back to all of them.
"I wasn't worried about how my opponent came into this fight, just that I was at my peak. With that focus, I was able to get the job done."
Gary Antonio (11-0, 9 KOs), 25, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pummeled Jonathan Lecona (17-21-4, 6 KOs), 32, of Mexico, in a fifth-round knockout victory.
He dropped Lecona with a body shot late in the first round and he barely beat the count. There were about 15 seconds left and Russell pounded him until the bell.
Russell battered the smaller, overmatched Lecona relentlessly for the rest for the rest of the fight. In the fourth round he sent Lecona to the canvas for the second time with a flurry of clean punches, including a powerful overhand right. Russell continued to inflict more damage early in the fifth round until referee Bill Clancy intervened 16 seconds into the round.
"I felt as though I showed some versatility, but I could have made it an even easier fight from the inside and the outside. He didn't have the skill that I have," Gary Antonio said. "I thought the jab and body shots were effective. He was a crafty fighter who tried to do little things such as turn his back and turn his head to try to get me to hit him in an illegal spot. I was astute enough to not throw at those times. I'm ready to get back in the ring as soon as possible. We're in the gym 24/7 and staying as active as possible."
Super middleweight Immanuwel Aleem (18-1-1, 11 KOs), 24, of Richmond, Virginia, rebounded from his first loss to stop Juan Carlos De Angel (20-9-1, 18 KOs), 30, of Colombia, who retired on his stool after the sixth round of their scheduled 10-rounder.
Aleem was in control all the way. He hurt De Angel with a right hand and two uppercuts in the third round and dropped him to his rear end with a left hand to the temple in the fourth round. De Angel continued to sop up punishment until he had had enough when the sixth round ended, as he suffered his fourth loss in a row.
Aleem was fighting for the first time since August, when he suffered his first defeat, a massive third-round knockout to Hugo Centeno Jr.
Junior lightweight Cobia Breedy (11-0, 4 KOs), 26, of Barbados, who trains in the Russell gym, cruised to a shutout decision against Christopher Martin (30-10-3, 10 KOs), 31, of Chula Vista, California, winning 60-54 on all three scorecards. Martin, coming off an 11-month layoff and second-round knockout loss to Tramaine Williams, dropped to 2-7 in his last nine fights.
Middleweight Brandon Quarles (19-4-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Alexandria, Virginia, scored a fifth-round knockout of Fidel Monterrosa (38-18-1, 30 KOs), 29, of Colombia. Quarles, who entered the fight coming off an eight-round split decision loss to Tyrone Brunson on March 11, blew through Monterrosa, dropping him to a knee in the fifth round before referee Braslow waved it off at 1 minute, 27 seconds as Quarles pounded him. Monterrosa lost his fifth fight in a row by knockout.
Cruiserweight Reuben Simmons (3-0, 2 KO), of Fort Polk, Louisiana, won by stoppage at the end of the second round against Ayron Davis (0-2), 26, of Princeton, West Virginia, when Davis complained of a headache after the round and the ringside doctor recommended the fight be stopped.