Gary Russell Jr will defend his WBC featherweight world title against Mark Magsayo at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City on January 22.
Russell Jr will make the sixth defend of his crown against unbeaten mandatory challenger, Magsayo who is signed to Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions.
The Washington native has struggled for activity since winning the belt in 2015, last out in February 2020 when he beat Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision and the 33-year-old could set-up unifications with WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz, WBO titlist, Emanuel Navarrette and IBF holder, Kiko Martinez, who he stopped in May 2019.
“I’m ready and I’ve been waiting to display my talents and get back in the ring,” said Russell Jr.
“My opponent is one of Manny Pacquiao’s fighters, who is a legend in the sport and I’m pretty sure has a good eye for talent.
“I’m sure he signed Magsayo for a reason. I know that I’m facing a guy who’s willing to put it all on the line, with everything to gain and nothing to lose.”
Magsayo came from behind to spectacularly wipe out Julio Ceja in the tenth round of their clash, which fell on the undercard of Pacquiao’s defeat to Yordenis Ugas in August, the final fight of his decorated career.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to fight on SHOWTIME for the WBC world title,” said Magsayo.
“This is the fight that I want and have been working hard to get for years. I am going to come to win and to make the most of this chance.
“There is a reason Gary is a champion, just like there is a reason I became the mandatory challenger.
“This is going to be a great fight for me to show the world what Filipinos are made of.
“I’ve had a long road to get to this position and I will be fighting in honor of everyone who helped me get here.”
The bout will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card, live on SHOWTIME in the USA with Subriel Matias and Petros Ananyan meeting in a super lightweight rematch in the co-main event.
The aforementioned Nyambayar clashes with Vic Pasillas in the show opener.