By Jake Donovan
Tugstsogt Nyambayar seems to believe his next fight will be for the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight title—with or without Gary Russell Jr. in the opposite corner.
The unbeaten featherweight contender from Mongolia held court during a press conference Thursday afternoon at The Corporate Hotel & Convention Center in his Ulaanbaatar hometown. Among the topics discussed was, of course, when his adoring fans can next expect to see him in the ring.
“I believe August 3 will be my next fight,” suggested Nyambayar (11-0, 9KOs), who believes he will return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. His last fight took place at the boxing hotbed, scoring a 12-round decision over former secondary titlist Claudio Marrero this past January.
The win—which aired live in primetime on free-to-air Fox—designated the unbeaten rising contender as the mandatory challenger to the title Russell has all but held captive since March 2015. The 2008 U.S. Olympian has fought just once per year, citing frustration over not being matched with the other featherweight titlsts as the cause for his inactive spells.
Most recently, Russell (30-1, 18KOs) scored a 5th round knockout of Kiko Martinez this past May at Barclays, live on Showtime where he followed up the win by calling out fellow titlist Leo Santa Cruz as well as high-powered Al Haymon, whom guides the careers of both boxers. Russell sported a “Leo Next, What’s Up Al?” shirt in the ring to make it emphatically clear what fight he would next like to take place.
Absent that, the Capitol Heights, Md.-bred southpaw is considering a move to the 130-pound division, where he would like to next face reigning WBC titlist Miguel Berchelt in efforts to become a two-division titlist.
Nowhere in his recent stretch has he mentioned his mandatory challenger, which is expected to be ordered by the WBC in the near future. A unification bout with Santa Cruz or any other titlists would serve as grounds to file for an optional fight other than his mandatory obligation; otherwise, it will by Nyambayar or bust.
“I am ready to fight for the WBC (featherweight) title,” insists Nyambayar, a 2012 Olympic Silver medalist for Mongolia who has fought exclusively in the United States since turning pro in 2015. “I’m not sure that Gary Russell Jr. is (interested) in fighting me, but will wait to see what the WBC (rules) before announcing our next move.”
An appearance on the August 3 show would mark the second straight time Nyambayar fights at Barclays Center, where he drew a sizeable crowd for his Fox-televised appearance. The upcoming show will also be carried in primetime, although Nyambayar—even if he makes his way to the show—would either appear on the non-televised portion of the night or on a preceding FS2 telecast.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox