By Steve Kim
Featherweight contender Joseph Diaz (25-0, 13 KO's) kicks off his 2018 by facing veteran, Victor Terrazas (38-4-2/21 KO's), on Thursday night at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Should Diaz come out victorious, he will be in line to face WBC titlist Gary Russell Jr. next. Diaz is rated number one by the WBC.
"Absolutely, the WBC already ordered it," said Robert Diaz, the matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, which handles the career of Diaz. "Gary was going to do an interim fight before their team decided not to do an interim fight, so knock on wood everything comes out well, Joseph wins, no injuries, no nothing. Eric(Gomez, president of GBP) already began discussions. So the ball's rolling."
When asked if May or June would be a realistic time frame for a potential Russell-Diaz fight, the matchmaker told BoxingScene.com - "I'm assuming [it should work for] Gary on his side since he's not fighting in the interim, is ready to go and probably in the gym training. Depending on how Joseph comes out, yes that's realistic."
Russell (28-1, 17KO's), who won his title in 2015, last fought in May where he stopped Oscar Escandon in seven rounds.
The once-beaten boxer, who suffered his only career defeat by way of decision at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014, has only made two defenses of his title since capturing the belt with a quick knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez.
After winning the belt, Russell returned more than a year later and blew away Patrick Hyland Jr. in two rounds. Then he was ordered to make a mandatory defense against Escandon, which also took more than a year to come together.
Russell, who is only 29 years old, does not appear to be bothered by the low level of activity of a yearly basis.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com