Friday, June 02, 2023  |


Manager: Promoter feud won’t spoil Gary Russell Jr. vs. Vasyl Lomachenko

Fighters Network

Vasyl Lomachenko's manager is amenable to fighting Gary Russell Jr. on June 21 for the WBO's vacant featherweight title, following a purse bid that was won by Golden Boy over Top Rank on Friday.

Golden Boy promotes Russell, of Capitol Heights, Md., and Top Rank is behind Lomachenko, of Ukraine. The promotional companies have become bitter rivals, and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer re-asserted that stance on Tuesday, saying he has no intention of working with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.  

Given that his company won the purse bid, Schaefer doesn' t have to.

But Lomachenko's manager, Egis Klimas, cares nothing about the promotional differences.

"We have a promotional contract with Top Rank, of course. But the bout is the bout, no matter who is going to put it on, whether it's Golden Boy or Top Rank. Their problems are their problems. I am not going into the boxing promoters wars. I represent the fighters, and I want my fighter to get the best fights," said Klimas.

"For me, you always want your promoter to promote the fight, because you're going to get a better dressing room or something, but other than that, a fight is a fight. As far as my opinion, I don't have any problems with who is going to be putting the fight on, which ring we're going to be fighting in. After the bell, it's going to be Russell and Lomachenko in the ring. Only Lomachenko has to go into the ring and fight Gary Russell, and that's it."

Citing rule No. 13 in the WBO guidlines pertaining to purse bids for a vacant title, President Paco Valcarcel informed that Lomachenko will receive $631,350 (60 percent) compared to $420,900 (40 percent) for Russell, career-highs for both boxers.

"If the fight is held in the country of origin, residence or nationality of one of the contenders, the resident contestant shall receive 40 percent and his opponent shall receive 60 percent off the total purse offered," reads the WBO rule.

Golden Boy Vice President Eric Gomez said the purse bid was executed by Golden Boy's Raul Jaimes, who was given a "lucky charm" by company publicist Ramiro Gonzalez, who is undefeated in purse bids.

A 2008 U.S. Olympian, Russell (he qualified for the team but never competed due to missing the weigh-in) was declared by Valcarcel in October to be the WBO’s mandatory challenger to face then-beltholder Orlando Salido. The ruling did not preclude Salido from making a voluntary defense against Lomachenko, which he did on March 1. Lomachenko fell by split decision, but Salido lost his belt at the scales after failing to make the 126-pound weight limit.

As a result, the title became vacant.

"I think that Gary Russell Jr. is one of the best fighters and I've said that for a long time," said Schaefer, who was at the Friday weigh-in for Saturday's tripleheader featuring IBF titleholder Bernard Hopkins against WBA titlist Beibut Shumenov in the main event. "He clearly deserves to be in one of the best fights and he is clearly one of the best in that weight class. We're looking at a few venues and I have a few of them on hold. Later on today or tomorrow, we'll be deciding on where to do that fight." reported that the fight is likely headed for The StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on the undercard of a fight on Showtime.

Showtime sports boss Stephen Espinoza likes the matchup.

"It's an intriguing fight. We know that Lomachenko has had an outstanding amateur career, and we know that Gary Russell is one of the fastest and most skilled professional fighters in the game today," said Espinoza. "This a great clash of styles. I think that it's going to be an all-action fight."