WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell will defend his title in January.
Russell will meet Mark Magsayo on January 22 from Atlantic City, New Jersey as part of a Showtime tripleheader.
“Gary Russell Jr. has been a force in the featherweight division for years with his dazzling skills and will again defend his title against a hungry and powerful up-and-coming opponent when he duels Mark Magsayo live on Showtime on Saturday, January 22,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Magsayo earned this fight with an impressive 10th-round knockout of Julio Ceja in August and he will be looking to show that he’s the future of the 126-pound division, by knocking off the long-reigning featherweight king in Russell, who has proven worthy of his top spot with his five successful title defenses. Combined with two all-action undercard showdowns, this shapes up to be an electric night of boxing in Atlantic City.”
Along with that fight, Subriel Matias takes on Petros Ananyan and Tugstsogt Nyambayar battles Vic Pasillas.
The Capitol Heights, Md., native Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) has held his WBC Featherweight Title since 2015 when he stopped multiple division champion Jhonny Gonzalez to emphatically capture the belt.
“I’m ready and I’ve been waiting to display my talents and get back in the ring,” said Russell. “My opponent is one of Manny Pacquiao’s fighters, who is a legend in the sport and I’m pretty sure has a good eye for talent. I’m sure he signed Magsayo for a reason. I know that I’m facing a guy who’s willing to put it all on the line, with everything to gain and nothing to lose.”
The Filipino sensation Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) fights out of Pasig City, Metro Manila and most recently scored a career-best victory in August knocking out former champion Julio Ceja in the 10th round of a fight he trailed on the scorecards.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to fight on Showtime for the WBC world title,” said Magsayo. “This is the fight that I want and have been working hard to get for years. I am going to come to win and to make the most of this chance. There is a reason Gary is a champion, just like there is a reason I became the mandatory challenger. This is going to be a great fight for me to show the world what Filipinos are made of. I’ve had a long road to get to this position and I will be fighting in honor of everyone who helped me get here.”
Matías (17-1, 17 KOs) will look to avenge his only career loss, which came by narrow decision to Ananyan in 2020, when he enters the ring on January 22. Fighting out of his native Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Matías has rebounded from the defeat to score back-to-back impressive victories on Showtime.
The 33-year-old, Ananyan (16-2-2, 7 KOs) made his U.S. debut in December 2019, losing a narrow majority decision against Kareem Martin after defeating Arkadi Harutyunyan in April 2019. Born in Abovyan, Armenia and training in Southern California, Ananyan was unbeaten in his first 15 fights after turning pro in 2015.
Nyambayar (12-2, 9 KOs) won a silver medal representing his native Mongolia in the 2012 Olympics and now lives in Southern California, where he’s trained by John Pullman. The 29-year-old ascended the featherweight rankings after his extensive amateur career with victories over then unbeaten Harmonito Dela Torre and former interim champion Oscar Escandon.
Pasillas (16-1, 8 KOs), who hails from East Los Angeles, will return to action looking to bounce back from his first career defeat at the hands of Ra’eese Aleem in January on Showtime.