WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) is set to make a mandatory title defense against Oscar Escandon on Feb. 18th, but what he really wants a chance at vindication against Vasyl Lomachenko.
Russell suffered his only professional defeat against Lomachenko by way of majority decision in mid-2014 — a loss that has never sat well with him. Russell says that for now he’s giving Lomachenko the opportunity for ‘working his way up the rankings,’ but that he’s intent on unifying the division in the near future.
“I don’t care if he loses his next 10 fights, before my career is over he’ll have to see me again. The people didn’t see the Gary Russell that they’re used to seeing.
“I don’t see my career lasting another four or five years. But before I’m done - I’m going to clean this division and Lomachenko has got to see me (before then)!”
Truth be told, even with only 8 professional fights under his belt, Lomachenko doesn’t really have much, if any, room to climb in the rankings. His amateur career was the stuff of legends and he’s already rated as a top pound-for-pound fighter. And even if Russell can secure another shot at Lomachenko, will he be able to do anything with it?