Petaluma’s Mike Russell takes another step in his professional boxing career when he fights on April 21 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds as part of a card promoted by Square Vision Entertainment.
The former Petaluma High School football player will face Josh Fisher, an Ohio boxer with a 5-4 record. Russell will be boxing for just the third time as a professional after a successful amateur career.
His first two pro fights lasted a combined total of 72 seconds and included first-round knockouts of Ignacio Zombrano and Jesus Murtado. The latter win earned for the Petaluman the SWC cruiserweight championship he will put on the line against Fisher.
Marin County boxing trainer/promoter Andy Nance said there is little chance of Russell having to give up the trophy despite his limited professional experience. Nance invited Russell to spar against LaRon Mitchell, a highly regarded unbeaten heavyweight.
“I was blown away with how good Russell was,” Nance said. “His speed and experience are so far advanced for a guy with only two fights. He’s the real deal.”
Russell has made some changes since his pro debut fights. He now trains at Nor-Cal Speed Boxing in Petaluma and now his father, Brian Russell, is both his manager and trainer.
Brian expects Fisher to provide good competition for his son.
“This one will go a little longer,” he said. “He (Fisher) is a good fighter. He has experience. This will be a good test for Mike to see where he stands.”
Brian Russell said it has been difficult for the boxer to get fights, pointing out that his reputation as a amateur has discouraged some opponents, who are looking for fights that will enable them to further their own careers.
For Mike Russell, this month’s match is another step toward his ultimate goal of the world cruiserweight championship.
“I’ve dedicated my life to winning the world championship,” he said. “It is a promise I made to my mother.”
The boxer’s late mother, Shelly, died in 2016 of brain cancer.