Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Russell aiming for top 10 spot in 2018

Published:Friday | January 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMLeroy Brown
Kemahl Russell

Middleweight boxer, Kemahl ' The Hitman' Russell, currently one of Jamaica's best prospects for another world title, has his sights set on a top- ten ranking this year.

Speaking to The Gleaner yesterday, a pensive Russell, who is currently in the top 50 in the world, said that "2018 is going to be a very important year for me, and I have to win some good fights if I am going to achieve my goal of being a world champion in the next two to three years".

Last year, the 28-year old Russell said, was a year of learning for him.

"I had three fights, won two, and lost one, but they were all important in my learning process."

In his first fight against Russian boxer Sergiy Derevyanchenko, who then had a 9-0 record, Russell, then 10-0 and now 12-1, lost by technical knockout in the fifth round of a bout scheduled for 10.


confident of victory


" I went into that fight very confident, and I knew that a victory would have done a lot of good for my career, as he was in the top 10. I lost, but I took away some lessons.

I won some rounds, so I knew that I could compete with him, but I made a few mistakes, and one in particular cost me the fight. I threw a leaping left hook, but it was the wrong punch at the wrong time. I missed and he countered and caught me with a left hook to the body that shook me.

"My legs felt weak, I lost my composure, and all my energy just went. I should have taken a knee and used the eight-count to recover, but I played macho man and it cost me. I also was cut in that fight for the first time, and it was my left eye, my lead eye, and that bothered me, as I had difficulty seeing. All these factors caused me to play into his hands and the fight was eventually stopped. I learnt a lot in that fight about things not to do in the future."

After that setback in March last year, Russell went on to win in July against Nigel Edwards, who he knocked out in the first round, here in Jamaica, and then in September he scored a technical knockout victory in seven rounds over Ian Green in New York.

"Those were also learning curves for me," he said. "I tried things and they worked and I have added them to my bag of tricks."


Career-defining year


This year, he surmised, will be one of the most important in his career. He has joint promotional contracts with Uprising Promotions and Real Deal Promotions, and he has been promised at least three fights. The first is scheduled for Jamaica in February, he said, and his promoters are on the brink of signing a contract with an opponent.

"Victory is the only thing on my mind now and I hope to be ready for that fight. I will be training in Jamaica, and I hope that I can find suitable sparring partners. That is my only concern now."

He said he was concentrating on that one fight, as he had learnt that that is the thing to do.

"Never look past your next fight, is something that I have been taught, so that fight is my sole project now. When I win that fight, I will start thinking about the next one. I have my goals, but I am taking it one fight at a time," he ended.