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WBO orders Gary Russell Jr. vs. Vasyl Lomachenko to fight for vacant featherweight title

Gary Russell Jr. Vasiliy LomachenkoBy Chris Williams: World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcarcel has ordered that #1 WBO Gary Russell Jr. (24-0, 14 KO’s) and #5 WBO Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1) to start negotiating a fight for the vacant featherweight title. They have 30 days to negotiate the fight. If the two fighters’ promoters are unable to put the fight together within that time, then it’ll go to purse bids.

Lomachenko is getting what some boxing fans feel is another gift title shot after his loss 12 round decision loss to Orlando Salido earlier this month.

Lomachenko got to skip over numerous arguably more deserving contenders to get a title shot against Salido after just one fight as a pro. Things didn’t go well for Lomachenko against Salido, as he spent much of the fight clinching him instead of fighting. By the time that Lomachenko finally did start fighting hard in the last three rounds, he needed a knockout to win, and that wasn’t going to happen.

Getting another title shot after a loss like the one that Lomachenko suffered is a controversial one because once again he’s getting the chance to skip to the front of the line to fight for a world title. There are other contenders such as 2# WBO Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, #3 WBO Kamil Laszczyk and 4 WBO Joel Brunker. If Lomachenko gets beaten against Russell Jr. and then ends up with yet another world title fight after that, then you need to start wondering what’s going on here.

The Lomachenko-Russell Jr. fight must take place by July.

Russell Jr. has taken the opposite approach to his title shot. Instead of facing the best fighters right away, he’s taken it easy since turning pro in 2009 by facing weak opposition instead of guys that would test him. That’s been the biggest knock on him. He’s got really fast hands and excellent skills, but he’s been matched against weak opponents. Since 2012, Russell Jr. has beaten the following fighters: Miguel Tamayo, Juan Ruiz, Vyacheslav Gusev, Roberto Castaneda, and Christopher Perez.


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