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Gary Russell Jr. weighs in at 135 for his 30-day weight check

russell333By Dan Ambrose: WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs) weighed in today for his WBC mandated 30-day weight check for his voluntary title defense against #18 WBC Patrick Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs) on April 16 at the Foxwoods Resort, in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Russell Jr., 27, weighed in at 135 pounds, which is within the WBC’s allowable weight limit. It’s unclear what the World Boxing Council will do because of Russell Jr. being a day late for his weight check. It’s to imagine them doing something drastic like stripping Russell Jr. over this.

Hyland, 32, was on time for his weigh-in, as he weighed in on Friday at 137.7lbs.

“A day late perhaps for his 30-day WBC weight check but Gary Russell has weighed and was 135, well inside the allowable limit. #boxing,” said Dan Rafael on his Twitter.

Russell Jr. is picking a lower ranked fighter for his voluntary defense. Usually, champions select someone ranked near the bottom of the top 15 rankings. However, in this case, Russell Jr. has gone below the top 15 to select Hyland at #18 in the WBC’s rankings. By picking someone ranked so low, it virtually assures that Russell Jr. will hold onto his title and won’t be in danger of losing his WBC title.

Also on the Russell Jr. vs. Hyland card is IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza defending his title against #1 IBF mandatory challenger Stephen Smith in the co-feature bout. This fight is likely going to be much better than the main event between Russell Jr. and Hyland. Pedraza-Smith is at least a competitive fight on paper. Russell Jr-Hyland is a poor mismatch.

Hyland was beaten by Javier Fortuna by a 12 round unanimous decision four years ago. Since then, Hyland has won his last four fights. What’s troubling is that Hyland has only fought four times since 2012. That’s not very much for someone Hyland’s age. He’s 32, and he’s not going to go anywhere if he’s only fighting once a year.

Champions fight once a year in some cases, but contenders need to be busier than that unless they’re someone like Manny Pacquiao, who gets $20 million per fight and who is coming off of a torn right rotator cuff injury.

Russell Jr. hasn’t fought since stopping former WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez in the 4th round in his last fight in April of 2015. That was Russell Jr’s only fight of the year. It’s unclear why he was out of the ring for the last eight months of the year. Perhaps he was celebrating his victory. Hopefully, Russell Jr. fights more than once in 2016, because he’s going to be limiting his own paydays by not fighting two to three times per year.

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