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Gary Russell Jr wants Miguel Berchelt at 130, asks WBC to order fight

Gary Russell Jr. Miguel Berchelt

By Chris Williams: WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr has asked the World Boxing Council to order a fight between him and WBC 130-lb champion Miguel Berchelt.

Steve Kim reports that the long-time WBC 126-pound champion Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) plans on moving up to super featherweight to challenge Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs).

Russell, 32, will likely need to have the WBC force Berchelt to defend against him because his promoters at Top Rank have other ideas for him.

They plan on matching Berchelt against Oscar Valdez next, and then potentially Shakur Stevenson or Vasily Lomachenko if he moves back down to 130. Gary’s hand speed and talent might be too much for Berchelt, and Top Rank won’t be eager to make this fight.

We saw what Russell Jr did to Jhonny Gonzalez in 2015 in stopping him in the fourth round to win the WBC 126-lb title. Russell Je also came close to beating a prime Vasily Lomachenko in 2014, and he did that without a weight advantage the way Teofimo Lopez did.

Will Top Rank let Berchelt face Russell?

Gary Russell Jr. Miguel Berchelt

Russell isn’t one of Top Rank’s fighters, and he’s a risky fight for Berchelt, who has been breezing through his competition since capturing the WBC 130lb strap in 2017. The combination of Russell’s lack of popularity and the fact that he’s not with Top Rank will make the promotional company resisting letting him fight Berchelt.

“Multiple sources tell me that Gary Russell has informed/requested the WBC order a fight between him and their 130-pound champion, Miguel Berchelt. So it looks like he intends to move up in weight… #boxing,” said @StevESPNKim.

Russell recently attempted to get a fight against WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney with no luck. According to Russel, Team Haney sent a contract offer sheet to them, filled with stuff that they couldn’t agree on.

When Russell sent the offer back with things he wanted to be changed, Haney and his Matchroom Boxing promoters moved on and signed to fight 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 7th.

Russell has become the boogeyman

Gary Russell Jr. Miguel Berchelt

Some fans feel that Haney and his handlers got cold feet and wanted the easier fight against the 40-ish Gamboa, who is coming off of a 12th round knockout loss and a bad Achilles injury against Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis last December.

Given how little experience the 21-year-old Haney has in the pro ranks, it’s quite understandable why he chose not to fight Russell. There’s too much risk for Haney against a talent like Russell.

Before that, Haney tried to set up a fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, but there was no interest on his side for that fight.

Russell is coming off of a 12 round unanimous decision win over his #1 contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar on February 8th of this year.  Gary took the 2016 Olympian Nyambayar to school in winning an impressive decision.


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