Gary Russell Jr: Will Golden Boy Promotions Let Diaz Fight Me?

By Keith Idec

Gary Russell Jr. wants to fight Joseph Diaz Jr.

The WBC featherweight champion isn’t so sure the feeling is mutual. Russell questioned Tuesday night whether Diaz’s handlers at Golden Boy Promotions will allow the undefeated Diaz to participate in the mandatory title fight he has earned.

“The WBC already sanctioned the mandatory challenger, Jo Jo Diaz,” Russell said during a ringside interview televised by FS1. “I’m curious if Golden Boy and them is really willing to put him in the ring with Mr. Gary Russell Jr.”


Like Russell, Diaz is a left-handed former American Olympian. The 24-year-old Diaz (25-0, 13 KOs), of Downey, California, most recently beat Mexico’s Rafael Rivera (25-1-2, 16 KOs, 1 NC) by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin undercard September 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The 29-year-old Russell (28-1, 17 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, stopped Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17 KOs) in the seventh round of his last fight, May 20 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Russell has fought just twice in the past 2½ years, though, and acknowledged a need to fight more often when he was interviewed during a “Toe-To-Toe Tuesdays” telecast from St. Petersburg, Florida.

“There’s a lot of people in the division that’s very scared and afraid to step in the ring with Mr. Gary Russell Jr.,” Russell said. “We’re definitely planning on staying a little more active [next] year. We wanna get another bout in sometime in February and we wanna go back again in May.”

Beyond making his mandatory defense against Diaz, Russell also said he wants to face current and former world champions considered among the elite featherweights in boxing.

“Anybody that’s in the featherweight division – Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton – it doesn’t matter,” Russell said. “You can hear people in the background, yelling it. Don’t be afraid. It’s time to make it happen. Let’s get it.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Steven Mccowan on 11-23-2017

[QUOTE=Corelone;18231271]I'm just saying, he calls out, but when he fights, it's Escondon and once a year. He needs to get busy. His brand is not in demand for lack of trying. More fights, more exposure, more demand.[/QUOTE] Lol thats the…

Comment by Steven Mccowan on 11-23-2017

Lmao. Russell jr.... Bust

Comment by deanrw on 11-23-2017

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;18230384]Joseph Diaz Jr is going to duck you, champ. He is the mandatory to your WBC title but we all know Golden Boy doesn't want that work.[/QUOTE] You are talking to him the wrong way. What you should have said…

Comment by SmokinYungJr on 11-23-2017

Gary is good but in all honesty what has the man done? Lost to Loma? Beat an old chinny gonzalez ? Seriously? His inactivity and lack of love for the sport is gonna be his demise. Hopefully a more active…

Comment by SmokinYungJr on 11-23-2017

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;18230799]If you're his mandatory and have to fight him, but you don't...then that's a duck.[/QUOTE] Jojo just fought the eliminator to be the the mando though he’s not ducking if anything Gary is putting the fight off saying he wants…

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