Hitman Russell starts off Contender series with a bang

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Wray and Nephew Contender, Kemahl Russell,Kevin Placide,

Photo: Kevin Placide is knocked to the floor for the fifth time by Kemahl Russell who looks on from the corner. Russell won the first fight of the fifth season of the Wray and Nephew Boxing Contender Series by knock out at the Chinese Benevolent Association last night.

Kemahl "hitman" Russell steamrolled into The Chinese Benevolent Auditorium last night and pounded away on Kevin "Gaad" Placide en route to an third round KO victory, as the fifth edition of the Wray and Nephew Contenders 5th series began.

The 25 year old Russell, with a previous record of (3-0-0 2KOs) moves one step closer to the 2 million dollar top prize with the win.

Russell, representing Jamaica and fighting out of the green corner, entered the ring with the sounds if Vybz Kartel song 'punch up yuh face like a fruit punch' pumping out of the speakers to a rowdy approval from the huge crowd.

The young boxer, with a height of '5 11' and weight 160 pounds took on a more experienced Kevin "Gaad" Placide who entered the ring dancing to the melody of one of Shabba Rankin's biggest hit 'yuh see di elder dem we nu nurse we nu pet and we nu powda.'

Boxing out of the yellow corner and representing the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago Placid weighing 160 pounds with a height of '5 7' and age 40 boasting an impressive boxing card of (13-6-1 8 KOs).

Placide faced the taller Jamaican opponent in his preliminary round, and from the opening bell Russell looked to take advantage of his longer reach on the shorter "Trini", however, the Jamaican began to pay for his reliance on his single punches, when Placid started to cover the ground quickly in order to close in with overhand punches and bent arm uppercuts.

As the round matured, Russell was edging the ring craft battle, sweeping Placid into the corners to unleash effective combination punches at mid to close range. Unfortunately however, both boxers began to lock horns in the range battle, with the taller Jamaican leaning down onto Placid as the Trini tried to wriggle away from the clinches.

After 4 to 5 clinches, the referee called time out on the bout to issue a warning, and to Placid who was deemed to be the culprit of the holding.

Going into the second round, Russell persevered with the same tactics that had given him an advantage in the first. Placide was looking at keep Russell at bay by looping long rear hand ‘bolo’s’ to the mid-rift of Russell, but struggled to find the target underneath a tight guard. Russell landed some serious combinations of left and right jabs and hooks knocking the Trini to the canvas, but Placides showed some guts and miraculously regained his footing.

Russell had clearly taken the first two rounds and went for the kill in round three as the 40 year old began to tire.

Russell took advantage of this stalked down on the retreating Trini isolating him in the corners and pivoting round the front foot to contain the weltering Placide, landing some powerful blows to the head and body of the veteran.

This fight should have been over from the second round but Russell decided to give the patrons a little more entertainment for their money. After Placide hit the canvas four times, Russell decided to put him out of his misery.

With 2:30 gone in the 3rd round, Russell found some space to land some spiteful punches to both head and body, knocking him to the canvas for a fifth and final time. Placide tried to stumble to his feet on the six count of the referee but sprawled backwards on the ropes to land Russell his 3rd KO.