WBO orders Russell-Lomachenko for vacant title
The WBO has ordered Gary Russell Jr. (24-0, 14 KO’s) and Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1) to start negotiating a fight for the vacant featherweight title. They have 30 days to negotiate the fight. If the two fighters’ promoters are unable to put the fight together within that time, then it’ll go to purse bids.
“We are in the position where we are getting a second shot at the title and we are very happy,” said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager. “I already spoke to our promoter, Bob Arum, and asked him to arrange the fight. If the negotiations are not going to go on, our promoter is willing to go into a purse bid. Lomachenko has nothing to lose after fighting Salido. The question is, will Russell fight Lomachenko?
“Lomachenko made such a big announcement by fighting Salido that to take a step back in competition and take the easy way — it would be nonsense.”
“[It will be a] very interesting process to see if the fight gets made, or goes to purse bid,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. “I told Lomachenko after the Salido fight, ‘The past is behind you, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it and the future could be Russell for the vacant title.’ Lomachenko is on board 110 percent.”
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said he received the letter from the WBO and would talk to Russell's adviser Al Haymon to see what they wanted to do about the fight.
“I have to discuss it with Gary’s team and see how we want to go about it, but I think it’s a very interesting matchup,” Schaefer said. “Gary has been waiting for a world title shot for a while. I will talk to them next week. Maybe we can make it happen. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will go to a purse bid. It’s a fight we’d like to do.”