It’s been a while since fans have seen Gary Russell Jr. in the ring. The former featherweight champ has been both out of sight and out of mind since losing his title to Mark Magsayo in January of 2022.

In addition to undergoing shoulder surgery, Russell (31-2, 18 KOs) simply hasn’t been interested in jumping back in the mix with just anyone. As for where he sees himself competing, his days at 126 pounds are essentially over with.

Moving up one weight class is normally the pragmatic move for most fighters, but Russell believes he needs a two-division reprieve.

Going up to 135 pounds could give Russell a ton of options. Of course, the aging vet would rather fight for a world title in his debut. If, however, that isn’t possible, he admitted that he wouldn’t have an issue taking on a highly-ranked contender like Edwin De Los Santos.

“I can see that,” said Russell during an interview with MillCity Boxing while nodding. “I can see that.”

De Los Santos, 24, needs a feel-good story following his close but clear defeat at the hands of Shakur Stevenson. On the night, the Dominican did his best to corner Stevenson and let his hands go. But, it was as if Stevenson was two steps ahead.

It was his first crack at a world title but De Los Santos is hoping that it won’t be his last. Russell, to a certain degree, is looking to bounce back himself. He hasn’t jumped into the ring in nearly two years and is desperate to get back in the mix, making De Los Santos the perfect opponent. As for how a showdown between them would play out, Russell doesn't believe that the issues De Los Santos gave Stevenson would happen if they shared the ring.

“I’ll spank his ass. He definitely got some pop but he wild. He not sharp enough.”