By: Hans Themistode
Gary Russell Jr. continues to show his frustration for his inability to land a marquee fight. The WBC featherweight belt holder is by far the longest-reigning champion in his division. But, despite his elongated title run, the 33-year-old has stepped foot inside the ring just once annually from 2015-2020. In 2021, he failed to compete at all.
While no one in, or around his respective weight class appears to be in a hurry to take him on, Mark Magsayo has confidently walked to the front of the class. With an unblemished record through 23 professional fights, including back-to-back stoppage victories over Pablo Cruz and Julio Ceja, Magsayo has now found himself as Russell Jr.’s mandatory. And, by all accounts, Magsayo couldn’t be happier to be in his current position.
“This is the fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Magsayo during a recent virtual press conference.
Presently, Russell Jr. finds himself near the top of the featherweight division landscape. Though the Washington D.C. native continues to be incredibly inactive, whenever he does enter the ring, his incredibly sublime skillset appears to be intact.
In Russell Jr.’s most recent trip to the ring, which took place in February of 2020, he easily outboxed highly ranked contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Despite his ring appearances coming few and far between, Russell Jr. scoffs at the notion that anyone, other than himself, should be considered the best at 126 pounds. With that said, Magsayo believes Russell Jr.’s time at the top of the featherweight mountain is just about over.
“I’m going to show the world that I’m the best at this weight.”
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