WBO featherweight title challenger Gary Russell Jr has no doubt that he will be crowned a world champion on June 21 as the American looks to inflict a second loss in three pro bouts on amateur standout Vasyl Lomachenko.
The 26 year-old, who has won all 24 of his fights scoring 14 stoppages, heads into his defining night full of confidence and says it’s just another fight despite having the carrot of a coveted belt dangling in front of him.
“Its just another day at the office for me,” Russell told World Boxing News.
““Its my job – I train everyday for this. Another stepping stone into Gary Russell Jr’s career. The rounds that I’ve put in as a pro fighter is what gives me the additional edge in this fight and it’s most definitely helped me in preparing for a world title shot.”
Opponent Lomachenko, also 26, lost just one of almost 400 contests in the vest and headguard, before embarking on his first title challenge of the back of just a solitary paid bout. The Ukrainian was eventually stunned by Mexican Orlando Salido via a split decision after going into the Texas fight as a hot favorite, with Russell believing that Lomachenko may be trying to run before he can walk.
“Lomachenko fought the way I expected him to,” said Russell. “He was a typical amateur trying to make the transition into being a professional, but I definitely think he was overhyped.
“If he decides to take chances in this fight he may get knocked out and won’t see a split decision, but if does fight with caution, I see me winning unanimously on the scorecards.”
Asked what he though of the purse bid wrangle that had caused a stir in the early negotiations, Russell was adamant that he thought the 60-40 split was ‘fair’ and is just looking forward to taking his place as world champion later this month.
Russell’s promoter’s Golden Boy had appealed for the fighter’s to get an equal share of the money on offer as the title is vacant, although the WBO turned down the bid and gave Lomachenko a bigger cut as he’s fighting on foreign soil.
“What’s fair is far and I just focused on winning this WBO title, which would give me closure on the Olympics.”
After winning the Junior Olympics in 2004, Russell was tipped to repeat the success at the senior games in Beijing four years later, but weight problems in the trials halted his progess and the southpaw ultimately missed out.
The Washington-born fighter immediately made the decision to leave the amateur scene behind him and now stands on the verge of completing his dream of becoming a world title holder and only Lomachenko stands in his way at the StubHub Center.
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