Tuesday, April 23, 2024  |


Gary Russell Jr. says he’ll knock out Vasyl Lomachenko in a rematch

Fighters Network


Vasyl Lomachenko (L) punches Gary Russell Jr. on his way to winning a world title in his third pro fight. Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank

Vasyl Lomachenko nails Gary Russell Jr. on his way to winning a world title in his third pro fight. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Gary Russell Jr.’s remarks on Wednesday suggested he’s not just looking past his next opponent in Patrick Hyland. He seems to be looking past the entire featherweight division.

Russell (26-1, 15 knockouts) is scheduled to defend his WBC featherweight title against Ireland’s Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs) Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Showtime (11 p.m. ET). The telecast starts with an IBF junior lightweight encounter between titleholder Jose Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs) and mandatory challenger Stephen Smith (23-1, 13 KOs).

The talented Russell didn’t sound particularly concerned with Hyland on Wednesday. Following a press conference in lower Manhattan, Russell seemed to speak about everyone except Hyland. In fairness to Russell, he was just responding to questions, but his answers revealed a man teeming with confidence and eager to see what happens after Saturday.

The southpaw predicted he would knock out Vasyl Lomachenko if the two ever fought again. Russell dropped a majority decision to the two-time Olympic gold medalist in June 2014. Russell claims he was extremely dehydrated from miscalculating his own weight due to a faulty scale and killing himself to make weight.

“He’s going to see me again,” Russell told a small group of reporters, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt that framed his nearly expressionless, relaxed features. “I’ll stop him. I’ll stop him and it’s done. He should have stopped me. He should have knocked me out in that particular fight. The state that I was in, I felt like I should have been stopped. The punches that were thrown weren’t affecting me. I never got buzzed or dizzy.”

Russell wasn’t done. The U.S. Olympian said he’s also interested in facing IBF titleholder Lee Selby after he faces Hyland. Russell would even travel to the United Kingdom if that’s what it took to get him in the ring, such is his confidence.

“Lee Selby is a world champion for a particular reason,” Russell said. “With that being said, I still don’t feel as though he possesses the full ability to stop me. I definitely want to unify with Lee Selby. If he’s not there, then we’ll go directly to Leo Santa Cruz.”

Speaking Santa Cruz, Russell downplayed the skills of the WBA titleholder, intimating that because he beat Santa Cruz in the amateurs he shouldn’t be a problem now. Russell topped Santa Cruz in the 2006 U.S. National Championships.

“I was the reason why he couldn’t make the Olympic team,” Russell said. “He couldn’t get past me. I feel as though he got exposed in his last fight (against Kiko Martinez in February). He had problems dealing with the pressure. I’m not one-dimensional. The majority of these guys are one dimensional. What you see of them in the amateurs is basically what you see as a professional.”