- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Featherweight Gary Russell Jr., the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year, has been cleared to resume training after fracturing his left hand in a March 2 victory.
The 24-year-old Russell (22-0, 13 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Md., scored a 10-round shutout win against Russia's Vyacheslav Gusev -- 100-89 on all three scorecards -- that included his knocking down Gusev in the third round. But Russell also injured his left hand (and he's a southpaw) around the fourth or fifth round of the fight.
Russell said he has been training despite the injury, but without any contact using his left hand.
"I'm always in the gym with my dad and my brothers, and the hand injury didn't change that," Russell said. "I focused a lot of my training on strength and conditioning work over the past two months, but I was definitely ready to start punching again and we are back 100 percent now."
Russell, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has fragile hands, so he and his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr., have developed techniques to help protect them during daily training sessions, including using larger gloves.
Russell is scheduled for his next fight on July 13 (Showtime) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on the undercard of light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins' mandatory defense against Germany's Karo Murat.
Russell doesn't have an opponent yet, but Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that he is trying to get former featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KOs) to accept the fight.
Gonzalez's promoter, Oswaldo Kuchle of Promociones del Pueblo, is supposed to meet with Golden Boy officials at their offices in Los Angeles in early June to further discuss the fight.
While Russell gets ready for his bout, he also accompanied his father and younger brother Gary Antonio Russell to the recently concluded 2013 National Golden Gloves tournament.
Gary Jr., a 2005 Golden Gloves champion, joined his father working in Gary Antonio's corner. Gary Antonio won the tournament's bantamweight title and the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award. Gary Antonio is the third Russell brother to win a National Golden Gloves title, along with Gary Jr., and Gary Allan Russell III, who won it in 2010. They are the third trio of brothers and the first since 1977 to win the event.