Gary Russell Jr. makes his anticipated ring return on January 22nd in Atlantic City, New Jersey where he will face off against unbeaten Featherweight, Mark Magsayo, of the Philippines. The WBC Featherweight World Title will be on the line; a World Title which Russell Jr. has not defended since February 2020, nearly two years.
Gary Russell Jr. is an enigma for boxing fans around the world. There is certainly no doubting his talent in the ring, with his only defeat coming in the form of the outstanding and elite Vasiliy Lomachenko in June 2014 for the then vacant WBO World Title. The fight went the distance and Russell Jr. did give a good account of himself, but Lomachenko is a different beast all together.
Since the defeat, Russell Jr. would go on to win the WBC Featherweight World Title in March 2015 which he has gone on to hold and defend ever since, with notable victories coming over Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz and Kiko Martinez. The issue that fight fans seemingly have with Gary Russell Jr. is the fact that he seemingly only chooses to fight once a year, taking the mandatories or voluntary challenges to maintain the belt and not pushing for the big unification bouts.
With Russell Jr. being out of the ring for two years, his next opponent comes in the form of Mark Magsayo who is unbeaten and ranked #2 with the WBC, so Russell Jr. is ensuring that he his following the rankings of the WBC. However, WBC Super-Bantamweight World Champion, Rey Vargas, is ranked #1 and will be pushing for his opportunity to fight Russell Jr. next in a bid to become a two-weight WBC World Champion.
Mark Magsayo comes into the bout with an extensive amateur record where he has amassed in and around 200+ amateur fights in the Philippines, winning the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) national tournament four times and was voted the ‘Best Boxer’ twice. He has a professional record of 23 Fights, 23 Victories with 16 KO’s and will be aiming to provide a stern test for Gary Russell Jr. on January 22nd.
If Gary Russell Jr. is victorious on January 22nd, there is no doubt that there are some huge fights waiting in the wings for him in 2022 and beyond. The Featherweight division is booming right now with fights coming up involving Leigh Wood Vs Michael Conlan (WBA Regular Featherweight World Title – March 12th), which could potentially be elevated to the WBA Super Title if Leo Santa Cruz vacates, and Kiko Martinez Vs Josh Warrington II (IBF Featherweight World Title – March 26th) where Josh Warrington will be looking to become a two-time Featherweight World Champion. Emanuel Navarrete is the WBO Featherweight World Champion and #1 Ranked Featherweight in the world with The Ring, BoxRec and ESPN and would surely welcome a Unification.
It is great to see Gary Russell Jr. back in action which can be seen live on Showtime in America. There has been no announcement as to how UK fight fans can see the fight as of yet, so keep your eyes peeled!