By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr not only made a statement inside of the ring by easily defeating Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but he also did so outside of it. Shortly after his win, Russell announced to everyone that he no longer intends on campaigning at the Featherweight division.
Now why would a fighter who has held his world title for the past five years be content with dropping his belt? Well, that’s an easy question to answer. Since 2015, Russell has stepped inside of the ring just once. His claims of no other title challengers willing to step up and face him might actually be true.
In the sport of boxing, when you are bereft of a world title, then you’re essentially the hunter. If you are one of the few that reaches championship status then you become the hunted. That just simply isn’t the case with Russell.
So now, he’s ready to go back on the hunt for a world title, but this time, in another weight class at 135.
With the move up in weight, the fans should be excited about the possibilities that could be next for him. Let’s take a look at the next best options for Russell in his next ring outing.
This seems like a very cruel way to be introduced to the Lightweight division doesn’t it?
The star power in Russell’s soon to be new division is ridiculous. But none seem to shine brighter than the young Devin Haney. Technically, Haney doesn’t have a belt anymore since he was stripped of his WBC crown following shoulder surgery, but that shouldn’t stop this contest from happening. Both fighters are strong, fast and have the sort of skills that can rival anyones in the entire sport. Haney is the sort of scalp that Russell would love to have on his resume. Now that they are going to be in the same division, he could make that a reality.
At this point, Gervonta Davis might need Gary Russell Jr more than he realizes. Davis might be a two division undefeated world champion but his lack of competitive opponents is becoming glaring. Russell has been calling out Davis for quite some time now. With all but one of his contests going the distance, Davis is clearly a big puncher. Yet, Russell seems incredulous to that statement. Well, now that they are in the same division, Russell can find out for himself.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez Winner
It may not have been officially announced, but a contest between unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and IBF belt holder Teofimo Lopez is going to happen in the next few months. Usually when a fighter moves up in weight, he or she will seldom if ever go straight for the best fighter in the division. Russell, on the other hand, is the sort of fighter who seems more than willing to take on the top dog of the weight class. The winner between Lomachenko and Lopez would most certainly be identified as the number one fighter in the division. A distinction that Russell wants for himself.
The previously mentioned contest on this list would be great, but this is the fight that Russell would want the most.