Russ grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. He has called Louisiana and New Orleans and Brooklyn his home but holds a special place in his heart for North Carolina. Russ pursued an interest in boxing as he struggled to maintain a healthy weight, as Russ constantly found himself fighting obesity as a kid.
He was inspired by the singer song writer, Aimee Mann. Her lyrics from the album: The Forgotten Arm, showcased the story of a boxer coming to terms with his past. The lyrics: I wish you could see how I see you, resonated with Russ, as he did not want to live his life as the kid who consumed two pizza pies for dinner.
He wanted more for himself as he fought hard battling predetermined genetics. Eventually, he triumphed over obesity attaining good health along with a sense of well-being, while shedding two hundred pounds.
While in New Orleans, Russ found himself on a new path, two hundred pounds lighter in an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. . For Russ, it was a new beginning and boxing was part of his evolution and healing. He enjoyed boxing as it was different from cardio training.
For Russ, boxing is like a Chess match, poetic in motion, in which strategy, mixes with excellent cardio fitness for a total body workout. Russ enjoys boxing as he rekindles his strength, pursuing his passions and love for life. Russ persevered through his mother’s diagnosis and passing from brain cancer.
Russ decided that it was braver to find joy and creativity even during his family’s darkest hours. Russ empowered himself as he transcended above all negativity and anger.
Today, he fights for all things that are good and important thereby empowering himself as he makes a positive impact in this world.
Russ’ hero, Joe Louis, elevated the sport of boxing while experiencing extraordinary challenges in life. Mavis Staples, Russ’ other personal hero championed a sound voice during the Civil Rights Movement.
Russ is energetic, fearless, thoughtful, brave and innovative. While living through Hurricane Isaac, Russ was just as fearless, earning him the nickname: Hurricane Joe by those inspired by his strength and fearlessness. He reminded everyone around him that the hurricane was no match for him. Russ earned the nickname. His greatest achievements include supporting his mother Jane as she battled brain cancer and having his mother Jane pass away on her own terms. His mother, Jane wanted to teach people how to die and her children supported her as she passed away on her own terms with dignity and respect. Russ and his sister ensured that their mother’s passing was as important and powerful as her life. Russ and his sister made even the most difficult ending, empowering. After his mom’s death, Russ has helped individuals by empowering them as they battled depression and grief, November marks the seven year anniversary of his mother’s passing as well as Russ’ maintenance anniversary as he successfully has kept off all two hundred pounds.
Russ currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.