Unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell Battles Former Champion Viktor Postol in Co-Main Event
LAS VEGAS - January 24, 2022 – Undefeated rising star Chris “Primetime” Colbert, whose mix of speed and power have quickly made him a fan favorite, will seek his first world title when he takes on WBA Super Featherweight Champion Roger “The Kid” Gutierrez in the SHOWTIME main event Saturday, February 26 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast kicks off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature another unbeaten young phenom in the co-main event. Gary Antuanne Russell, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, faces former world champion Viktor Postol in a 10-round super lightweight bout, while IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Jerwin Ancajas defends his title against unbeaten Argentine Fernando Martinez in the televised opener of the loaded tripleheader.
Tickets for the live event are on sale now, and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
“We’ve had the pleasure of watching Chris Colbert develop from a prospect to a contender on SHOWTIME, so it’s only fitting that he will get a chance to take yet another step in his progression with a title shot against Roger Gutierrez on our network,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Gary Antuanne Russell is following a similar recipe for stardom. If he can turn back the tough-as-nails Viktor Postol, it will be another signal that his time in the spotlight may soon be at hand. We’ve seen the destructive talents of Jerwin Ancajas on SHOWTIME before. His title defense against Fernando Martinez should be a barnburner and the perfect start to a fantastic night of boxing.”
Representing his native Brooklyn, N.Y., Colbert (16-0, 6 KOs) has quickly shot up the 130-pound rankings, taking on high-level competition in his first 16 pro fights. Already established as a fighter with dazzling boxing skills, Colbert showcased his ability to fight toe-to-toe with an 11th-round stoppage of Jaime Arboleda in December 2020 before most recently besting Tugstsogt Nyambayar in July 2021. The 25-year-old turned pro in 2015 and defeated three unbeaten fighters in his first eight contests. Prior to the Arboleda fight, Colbert scored a highlight-reel first-round knockout against Miguel Beltran Jr. in September 2019 and a dominant 12-round decision victory over former champion Jezzreel Corrales in January 2020.
“I’m super ready for my title shot,” said Colbert. “This has been a long time coming, but it’s no shocker to me. This was always the expectation. I know Gutierrez will come to fight. He’s a champion for a reason. So he’s not coming to lay down. But I plan to put him down and I’m willing to do whatever I have to do on February 26 to make that happen. I know a lot of people have been waiting to see when I get this title shot and now it’s time.”
The 26-year-old Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KOs) captured his world title with a unanimous decision victory over Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado in January 2021, in a fight that saw him drop his opponent three times. Gutierrez followed up that performance by defending his world championship and defeating Alvarado a second time in August 2021, again earning a unanimous decision. Fighting out of his native Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gutierrez is unbeaten in his last seven outings, including four knockouts.
“First of all, I want to thank God, my mother, my team, my promoter and the WBA for this opportunity,” said Gutierrez. “It cost me a lot of effort to win the world championship, this is my second title defense and I am ready to give it my all to retain it. On February 26, I am going to show the world that I am the best at 130 pounds.”
Russell (14-0, 14 KOs) has yet to allow an opponent to make it the distance against him since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Russell added five more stoppage victories in 2019 before knocking out Jose Marrufo in the first round in February 2020. The 25-year-old most recently dominated Jovanie Santiago in May on SHOWTIME, on his way to a sixth-round stoppage. Russell belongs to one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families and trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio.
“I’m going to make sure I’m prepared mentally and ready to perform at a high-level for this fight,” said Russell. “These fights come down to who’s more mentally stable, and that’s a matter of training. I train my mental as much as I do physically. I’ve watched Postol fight before and I know that he’s a rangy fighter with a European style. He likes to stay at a distance and that works best for him. He leans on his strengths. Every fight I come in planning to make a statement. My prediction, I’m ending this fight in round five.”
A feared contender in the 140-pound division, Postol (31-3, 12 KOs) returns to the ring after losing a narrow majority decision to then unified champion Jose Ramirez in August 2020. Fighting out of California and originally from Ukraine, Postol, knocked out Lucas Matthysse in 2015 to capture a super lightweight world title before losing a unification showdown against Terence Crawford. Postol has won three of his last five fights, with the only defeats in that stretch coming against Ramirez and current undisputed champion Josh Taylor, both by decision.
“I accepted this fight as soon as it was offered,” said Postol. “I haven’t fought in a while and I wanted to get back in the ring as soon as I could. I’m especially excited that I’m going to have the opportunity to face a good young opponent on February 26.”
Representing the Philippines, Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KOs) was only 15 years old when he was spotted by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The young fighter blossomed with Pacquiao’s guidance, becoming the first world champion under Pacquiao’s promotional banner when he outpointed McJoe Arroyo for the IBF title in September 2016. The 30-year-old southpaw hasn’t lost since and will be making the tenth defense of his title, following an April 2021 unanimous decision over Jonathan Rodriguez.
“I am thrilled to be back on SHOWTIME defending my world title on February 26,” said Ancajas. “It’s very exciting to be making my tenth world title defense in the first Las Vegas fight of my career. I want to thank my whole team for giving me this great opportunity to fight on this PBC event on SHOWTIME.”
A resident of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Martinez (13-0, 8 KOs) most recently knocked out Gonzalo Duran in the fourth round of their August 2021 showdown and will be making his U.S. debut on February 26. The 30-year-old rose up the rankings by stopping Athenkosi Dumezweni in his home country of South Africa in 2019, following that up with a decision over Angel Aquino in December 2020. Martinez turned pro in 2017 and owns an amateur victory over former title challenger and super flyweight contender Andrew Moloney.
“I’m excited to have this great chance to show my skills on the big stage in Las Vegas,” said Martinez. “I’m going to leave it all in the ring on February 26 and give all the fans watching an exciting fight. My goal is to become world champion and this is the night for me to prove myself.”