Gary Russell Jr May Defend His WBC Title Against Mark Magsayo Next
WBC featherweight champion “Mr.” Gary Russell Jr (31-1, 18 KOs) is one of the most perplexing fighters in the sport. For the traditionalists and old-school sect, he is not their favorite. On September 20th the World Boxing Council (WBC) ordered Russell must face Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs), who is currently ranked 3rd at featherweight.
Russell Jr is regarded by many boxing pundits as the best in the world at 126 pounds. He arguably has the fastest hands in the game. However, the 33-year-old is often chastised for his ring inactivity. He has fought just once a year since 2015. On top of that, the defending champ seems content fighting so infrequently.
The resident of Capitol Heights, Maryland, should take on the nickname “One-Time” as that of former unified welterweight champ Keith Thurman instead of “Mr”.
The talent is obvious. He’s held the WBC belt for over six years now. Russell often calls for fights against the elite from 126-135 pounds. However, he has yet to engage in a big-money, high-profile fight. To some, Russell huffs and puffs but has not blown down any meaningful doors in the sport. As a result, there is a love/hate relationship with him.
When Magsayo turned pro in 2013, boxing heads in is his native Philippines pegged him a future star. That has not turned out to be the case. While still undefeated, the prevailing thought is that he is a fighter of untapped potential.
When he stopped former world junior featherweight title challenger Chris Avalos in April 2016, the 26-year-old seemed on the verge of taking his career to the next level. Unfortunately, he has toiled in relative anonymity.
In August 2021, Magasayo hoped to make a statement against former bantamweight champion Julio Ceja. Overcoming a fifth-round knockdown, the man from Tagbilaran City scored a dramatic tenth-round KO in a candidate for fight of the year. That win put him in a position to for at shot at the WBC title.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.