Gary Russell Jr open to Vasyl Lomachenko return, Leo Santa Cruz

Phil Jay 02/09/2015

WBC featherweight title holder Gary Russell Jr is currently scouting for his return to action following an impressive stoppage win over Jhonny Gonzalez in March and has told WBN he would consider Leo Santa Cruz or ex-opponent Vasyl Lomachenko once that fight is completed.

Speaking to WBN before the recent Santa Cruz v Mares fight, Russell outlined how he thought the fight would pan out and says he would be interested in facing the winner of Saturday’s majority decision.

“I was asked a similar question and said Abner Mares is the better fighter, yet Leo Santa Cruz might overwhelm him with pressure,” Russell rightly predicted to World Boxing News.

Asked whether we was surprised that the World Boxing Council allowed the pair to fight for the WBC Diamond title which is considered a higher honour than his belt, Russell replied: No, I’m not surprised at all. They were allowed to fight for the Diamond belt and that’s okay with me. And of course, I would like to face the winner,” he added which turned out to be Santa Cruz in a bruising battle.

Russell, 27, remains focused on nailing down an opponent for his upcoming voluntary contest set to take place before the end of the year, but says he holds no fear of the WBC stipulating that he must face Santa Cruz in 2016.

“I haven’t got an opponent yet, but we are looking,” said Russell. “As I said, I’d be happy to fight Santa Cruz, and on a rematch with Vasyl Lomachenko it’s another hell yeah! I got to fight him again,” he added.

Lomachenko inflicted the only loss of Russell’s career in June 2014 via a close decision when the pair fought for the vacant WBO belt in Carson, California.