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Leo Santa Cruz Says He’ll Return to 126 Pounds and Fight Gary Russell Jr.

Leo Santa Cruz Vs Gary Russell Jr

Leon Santa Cruz says he is going back to 126 pounds in his next fight and would like to fight Gary Russell Jr.
Santa Cruz was knocked out by Tank Davis in his most recent fight last November 2020.
Russell has not fought since February 2020 when he defeated Tugstsogt Nyambayar.

Leo Santa Cruz has not fought since he was viciously knocked out by Gervonta Davis last Halloween. The defeat snapped a five-fight winning streak for the Mexican and left him with a decision to make: which weight class will he continue his fighting career at?

During the Chris Colbert vs Tugstsogt Nyambayar bout in Carson, California last weekend, reporters caught up with Santa Cruz and asked him about his future plans.

The four-division world champion said:

“I’ll probably go down to 126. I still have the title at 126, and will defend it in a fight this year. Of course, if [Gary Russell Jr.] wants it. I want the fight too. Let’s make it happen. He wants to fight. I want to fight. Let’s tell our teams to talk and make the fight.”

Four Weight World Champion

.@leosantacruz2 becomes a 4️⃣weight world champion with his defeat of Miguel Flores 🇲🇽👑 #SantaCruzFlores #WilderOrtiz2#PBConFOX pic.twitter.com/bksgP9Luu0

— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) November 24, 2019

The 32-year old Santa Cruz became a four weight world champion in 2019 when he defeated Miguel Flores via decision to win the WBA (super) super featherweight title. That win was Santa Cruz’s fifth straight since suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Carl Frampton in their first bout in 2016.

El Terremoto began his career at bantamweight and won his first world title in in 2012, winning the IBF bantamweight title. After a two-year reign as WBC super bantamweight champion from 2013-2015, Santa Cruz defeated Abner Mares in the Battle of Los Angeles to win the featherweight world title. He moved up in weight once again when he fought Flores and tried to unify the super featherweight title but was unsuccessful.

Santa Cruz has an impressive record of 37-2-1 with 19 knockouts. He is known as one of the top pressure fighters in the business and is known for his ridiculous pace and incredible punch volume. Successful as he is, perhaps 130 was too big a weight class for Santa Cruz so now he wants to return to 126 pounds where he is still the WBA (super) featherweight champion.

Russell Calling Out Santa Cruz Forever

Gary Russell jr explaining his inactivity and questioning why no other champions want to face him🧐 also calls out Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz for the 100th time.. Russell jr is a odd case seemingly has all the gifts and talents to be top P4P yet gets mishandled by PBC pic.twitter.com/7enuk47sgy

— Primo (@Supreme_takes) January 7, 2020

Gary Russell Jr. is an interesting case. He has been the WBC featherweight champion since 2015 but has fought just once a year since capturing the green belt. Russell has been calling out Santa Cruz since forever and Santa Cruz has expressed his intention to fight Russell but somehow, these two have not crossed paths yet.

Russell last fought on February 8, 2020 or before the COVID-19 outbreak. He defeated Mongolia’s Tugstsogt Nyambayar via unanimous decision in his fifth successful title defense. Prior to Nyambayar, Russell defeated Patrick Hayland, Oscar Escandon, Joseph Diaz, and Kiko Martinez to keep his belt.

The 33-year old was on the PBC Podcast this week and spoke again about his desire to fight the best from 126 to 135 pounds, including Santa Cruz, Davis, and Devin Haney. However, it remains to be seen what PBC and Al Haymon wants to do with him. A fight with Santa Cruz though is long overdue.