WBC world featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr says he would ‘love’ a unification fight with IBF king Lee Selby.
First, the talented American must get past plucky Irishman Patrick Hyland on Saturday, whom he faces at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Russell won the title from Jhonny Gonzalez in March 2015, but has not fought since due to injury. His only career defeat came to WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014, and the 27-year-old is desperate for a chance at revenge.
“God willing, everything goes right come April 16, we would love to unify with Lee Selby,” he said.
“If I had my choice, I would go with Lee Selby first to unify. Immediately after that, I want Leo Santa Cruz and after that I need Lomachenko.
“I don’t care where [Lomachenko] moves. He can lose his next 10 fights, but before my career’s done he has to see me.”
Russell also gave a candid admission when talking about the injury which sidelined him last year, and spoke about how he felt when critics questioned him.
“I feel good. I’m ready; I put the work in at the gym. Like I said earlier, I got cussed out several times and sometimes I left the gym feeling like the worst fighter ever,” he said.
“But, right now, we’re ready and we’re prepared to invest in my ability.”
Hyland sadly lost his father, who also trained him, last June and Russell – trained by his own father – paid respect to his opponent, who vowed to win the world title for his late dad.
“First and foremost, I gotta tip my hat off to him. I heard him say he was being trained by his father,” he said.
“Me and my younger brothers are also trained by my dad. My father is my favorite superhero, so it is very hard to deal with a situation like this and to bounce back and to grind and put all the hard work and effort into it after all the heartache and loss, I gotta tip my hat off to him for that.”