WBC Orders Featherweight Unification Fight Between Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr.

A unification fight in the featherweight division could be coming in the near future.

During the WBC convention, the organization gave a massive update on its world title situation, and that includes announcing the mandatory challenger for featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. The WBC has ordered Russell to fight WBA "super" champion Leo Santa Cruz in a unification fight.

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Although Santa Cruz did not win any title eliminators of the sort and governing bodies don't usually order unification fights, Santa Cruz does hold the WBC Diamond title which gives the WBC the ability to order such a fight. Santa Cruz won the WBC Diamond title earlier this year as an added bonus when he defeated then-WBA "regular" champion Abner Mares in a rematch that took place on Showtime.

Russell has been the WBC's champion since ending Jhonny Gonzalez's reign as champion with a fourth-round TKO victory in 2015. Since then, Russell has only fought once a year, knocking out Patrick Hyland in 2016, stopping Oscar Escandon in the seventh round in 2017 and then winning a unanimous decision against Joseph Diaz this past May.

The two world champions have discussed a unification fight in the past, but a fight has yet to be reached. There were rumors of the fight taking place on December 1 as one of the key undercard fights of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury pay-per-view fight although no fight for the card, other than the main event, has been announced.

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