Gary Antonio Russell vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez
Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, USA 14/8/21
Rising contender Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) and former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) fought to a no-decision just 16 seconds into the first round of their 118-pound matchup, after an accidental headbutt injured Rodriguez and ended the fight.
“It happens,” said Russell. “I was looking to establish my jab and I tried to set up a hook, and he came in at the same time. It’s very disappointing.”
“I feel okay,” said Rodriguez. “I’m a little frustrated after putting in all this work for the fight to end so quickly with nothing happening. With the headbutt, maybe if there was no blood, we would have been able to continue. But once I saw all the blood, I knew it was over.”
The crossroads battle for the Interim WBA Bantamweight Title was meant to offer Russell a chance to establish himself as a true title contender and give Rodriguez an opportunity to move one step closer to becoming a two-division champion. Rodriguez attempted to counter an incoming Russell attack, which led to the two southpaws clashing heads.
“I was actually in camp for about four months,” said Russell. “I prepared great for this fight. I was really looking to broadcast my talents and show everyone what’s in my arsenal. Unfortunately, the headbutt happened.”
Rodriguez fell to the canvas immediately and was bleeding from his nose, prompting referee Sharon Sands to wave off the bout, which was ruled a no-decision.
“Of course, I would like to come right back,” said Russell. “If he can do it, I want to get right back in there with Rodriguez.”
“I don’t want to lose the condition that I’m in,” said Rodriguez. “I prepared really hard for this fight. As soon as the injury is fixed, I’ll be back in the ring and I’d like to fight Russell again.”
(Kristian von Sponneck)
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