By Rick Reeno
Reacting to reports that Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1, 1KOs) will be granted an immediate shot at the vacant WBO featherweight crown, Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, told BoxingScene.com that his fighter, Gary Russell Jr. (24-0, 14KOs), is ready to face Lomachenko for that title.
Russell is the mandatory challenger to the WBO belt. Prior to Lomachenko's fight with then champion Orlando Salido, the sanctioning body had ordered the winner to face Russell.
However, Salido lost his title on the scale when he failed to make weight for last Saturday's fight in San Antonio. The title remained vacant after Salido won a twelve round split decision over Lomachenko.
Because Salido was overweight and rehydrated to 147-pounds by fight night, the WBO was willing to give Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, an immediate crack at the belt.
"I think that's great [with Lomachenko getting another shot], then he'll have to fight Gary Russell....no problem, bring it on," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
Because Lomachenko is promoted by Top Rank, a direct deal with Golden Boy is unlikely. The two companies have not come together to make a direct deal in several years.
Schaefer confirms that Russell-Lomachenko, if ordered by the WBO, would head to an immediate purse bid - with both powerhouse companies opening their checkbooks to secure the promotional rights.
"Exactly, may the promoter who has the deeper pockets win. We're just going to see who that's going to be," Schaefer said.