Featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr., of Capitol Heights, Md., will face Chris Perez of Mexico on June 30 from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com on Monday.
Also on the Showtime-televised card, junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara will face twice-beaten Freddie Hernandez, and in the main event, there will be a rematch between IBF junior middleweight titleholder Cornelius Bundrage and ex-beltholder Cory Spinks.
Russell (19-0, 11 knockouts) had been in line for an IBF eliminator bout against Cuban Olympian Luis Franco (11-0, 7 KOs), of Miami, whose promoter, Gary Shaw, had out-bid Golden Boy for the right to promote that clash.
The winner between Russell and Franco was to challenge titleholder Billy Dib (34-1, 21 KOs), of Australia. Shaw had been aiming for “either August or September, most likely,” adding “I will be offering the fight to both Showtime and HBO.”
But Schaefer said Russell wanted to be in the ring sooner.
“Gary Shaw and I work very well together, so it has nothing to do with any disagreement or anything. The only reason is that Gary Russell has an opportunity to fight on June 30 on a Showtime card,” said Schaefer.
“We wanted to see if we could do it against Franco, but Gary Shaw informed us that Franco would not be ready. We didn’t really didn’t have another date for later on, so we would have had to wait until after the summer. But the fact is that we believe that it’s important for these young fighters like Gary Russell to stay active and to fight, and we pride ourselves on giving them opportunities.”
Russell will face Perez (23-2, 14 KOs), who is 22 years old.
“Instead of fighting Franco, Gary will be fighting Chris Perez on the June 30 card. It has nothing to do with one guy not wanting to fight the other one,” said Schaefer.
“It’s just an opportunity for Gary to stay busy. The only problem was that there was no date, and Franco could not be ready, so Gary is going to move on. We decided we want to fight.”
In the meantime, Shaw said that the IBF has ruled that Franco face Mauricio Munoz (25-3, 12 KOs), a 26-year-old from Argentina.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com