WBC featherweight champion wants winner of Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares or potential bouts against 130-pound champion Gervonta Davis, three-division titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko or four-division champ Mikey Garcia.
Gary Russell Jr. said prior to Saturday’s fight with Joseph Diaz that he was “cashing out” on his career “after six more fights.” After using his speed and punching versatility to earn his third WBC featherweight title defense by unanimous decision, the southpaw re-affirmed his intentions.
Russell (29-1, 17 KOs) overcame a damaged right hand as well as a brutal body attack by the 25-year-old Diaz (26-1, 14 KOs) at the MGM Grand National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland Saturday night, one day prior to his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr.’s 59th birthday.
Russell, 29, wants a unification fight against the winner of the rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares or potential bouts against 130-pound champion Gervonta Davis, three-division title-winner Vasyl Lomachenko or four-division champ Mikey Garcia.
“After beating Diaz, we would love to unify with whoever wins between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares,” said Russell, who lost a majority decision to Lomachenko for a vacant 126-pound title in June 2014.
“We’ve spoken of moving up to 130 for Gervonta Davis, who looked really good winning his last fight.”
The 23-year-old Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) was ringside on Saturday.
“Gervonta is another guy from the area I’ve watched develop into the world champion. But once I move up in weight, he’s gonna have to get out of the way or get run over,” Russell said.
“After that, I would love to get a Mikey Garcia in the ring. Before my career is over I have got to break my foot off in Lomachenko, beating him twice. I’m willing to meet at catch-weights, go up to 140, and drop back down to fight Lomachenko.”
In the MGM Theater, Russell, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, returned to the site where he scored a seventh-round TKO over Oscar Escandon on May 20, 2017—marking the first time Escandon had been stopped.
A married father of three daughters, Russell is “ready to spend time with my family and children” as he prepares to close out his career.
Also on Saturday, England’s Lee Selby was dethroned by new IBF champion Josh Warrington via split-decision.
“Unification is next, and whoever is willing to unify the titles, we can make it happen,” said Russell. “Now that Warrington has a title, we want him, too. But if we can’t get a unification, we’re planning on moving up in weight.”
For a complete look at Russell vs Diaz, check out our fight page.