August 2, 2021

Gary Russell: Hearn Offered Me $1 Million To Fight Warrington; Beneath My Standards

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Gary Russell Jr. deemed Eddie Hearn’s offer for a featherweight title unification fight against Josh Warrington unacceptable.

Russell revealed during the newest episode of “The PBC Podcast” that Warrington’s promoter made him a $1 million offer for that bout through social media. Russell turned it down because he believes that fight is worth more money, particularly if Russell would’ve had to travel to the unbeaten Brit’s home country to fight him.

“Eddie Hearn reached out to me through Instagram,” Russell told co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal in an episode that debuted Wednesday on premierboxingchampions.com. “He offered me a million dollars to fight Josh Warrington for a unification match. And I felt like it was a little, it was beneath my standards.”

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England’s Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs) has since vacated the IBF featherweight title. He is scheduled to meet Mexico’s Mauricio Lara (21-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC) in a 10-round fight February 13 at Wembley Arena in London (DAZN; Sky Sports).

Russell (31-1, 18 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, later stated that he expects to make a mandated defense of his WBC featherweight title in his next fight. Mexico’s Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) is the WBC’s number one contender for Russell’s title, though Russell didn’t mention Vargas by name.

The 32-year-old Russell did mention Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko as opponents he wants to face either in the 130-pound or 135-pound divisions, yet he does expect to compete at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds at least once more.

“To be honest, at [126], it’s nobody in my weight division right now that I would say that I’m actually targeting, that I want,” Russell said. “All the guys that I want is at maybe ’30 or ’35. But I think right now I’m at the dilemma whereas though I’m just coming up on the time frame because I am a title-holder, you know, I have the dilemma whereas though I still have to defend my title within a certain time frame. So, I’ll compete against the next best guy than the champion.

“Whoever the next best guy is, we’ll compete against him, you know, and God willing, we get through that. Immediately after, you know, we wanna start working on some things, so we can get us another fight in this year. You know, because once my mandatory is completely satisfied, then I have the ability to go and take another fight. The question is, who is gonna fight me? Who would be willing to take the fight?”

Russell out-pointed Mongolia’s Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1, 9 KOs) unanimously in his most recent fight, a 12-rounder last February 8 at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.