Editor's Note: Russell would eventually return to the scale for a second try and this time he was one pound less, coming in at 125.5 to make the featherweight limit.
ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – Gary Russell Jr. uncharacteristically came in overweight Friday afternoon for his featherweight title defense against Mark Magsayo on Saturday night.
Russell stepped on the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board’s scale at 126½ pounds, half a pound over the featherweight limit of 126. The long-reigning WBC featherweight champion was given one hour to come back to the scale at 126 pounds or lower, or he will be stripped of the title he won when he knocked out Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez in March 2015 in Las Vegas.
The Philippines’ Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Russell’s title, officially weighed 125½ pounds.
Numerous online sportsbooks list Russell as a 4-1 favorite to beat Magsayo, but boxing’s longest-reigning male champion has dealt with adversity beyond coming in slightly overweight while preparing for this fight.
Russell acknowledged during an interview on “The DAZN Boxing Show” this week that he has a slight, undisclosed injury. The Washington, D.C., native hasn’t fought in nearly two years, either, and acknowledged that he has essentially trained himself for the Magsayo match because his father and trainer, Gary Russell Sr., hasn’t been available because he had his left foot amputated last month due to complications from type 2 diabetes.
Regardless, Russell-Magsayo will headline Showtime’s three-bout broadcast from Borgata Event Center inside Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
The official weights for the first two televised fights are listed below.
Showtime; 9 p.m. ET
Subriel Matias (17-1, 17 KOs), Fajardo, Puerto Rico, 140½ pounds vs. Petros Ananyan (16-2-2, 7 KOs), Abovyan, Armenia, 141 pounds, 12 rounds, welterweights.
Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2, 9 KOs), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 128 pounds vs. Sakaria Lukas (25-1, 17 KOs), Windhoek, Namibia, 127½ pounds, 10 rounds, junior lightweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.