Undefeated Featherweight Gary Russell, Jr. of Capitol Heights, Md., has been designated as the mandatory challenger for the WBO Featherweight title and he looks forward to challenging the WBO champion for the title belt.
Orlando Salido just picked up the vacant WBO title by defeating Orlando Cruz on the Bradley vs. Marquez pay-per-view. Salido represents a huge step up in class for Russell, and it would be a very intriguing fight. We’ll see if that match can be put together or how the politics end up being handled.
“On October 9th, my team received written confirmation from the WBO that I am the mandatory challenger for their featherweight world title,” Russell said. “I’m ready for my first world title fight and cannot wait for the fight to get made.”
Russell, who owns two unanimous decision victories in 2013, has been ranked second in the WBO’s featherweight rankings since March. The 2008 Olympian recorded his first victory of the year in early March, setting a Compubox record for defensive brilliance in a one-handed win over Vyacheslav Gusev. His second victory came in August with a 10-round win over Juan Ruiz.
An undefeated professional and highly decorated amateur, Russell is known for having the fastest hands in boxing and one-punch knockout power. He’s racked up 23 victories in his four years in the pro ranks and looks forward to stepping up his level of opposition in his first title fight.
The WBO has ordered that Russell must be given a shot at their featherweight title within the next 180 days.
Russell has long been one of the hottest prospects in the sport. But injuries and inactivity derailed his momentum a bit, and he hasn’t taken that next step up in competition. This fight would change all of that, of course, and it would offer Russell a chance to break out on the big stage and establish himself as one of boxing’s best young fighters.