WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. of Capitol Heights, MD was to make his first home debut in front of his hometown on March 11 at MGM National Harbor. The title defense bout was to be against Oscar Escandon, who was hurt in training camp, thus postponing the bout. Escandon’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, said in a statement that his fighter injured his back and will be out until April. Escandon (25-2, 17 KO's) is the mandatory challenger for Russell’s WBC belt and now the bout is set to take place on May 20 at the original location, MGM National Harbor.
Russell: “It’s definitely irritating, but injuries happen, especially when you have somebody pushing their body to the limit for a fight that is potentially life changing. It’s disappointing. It might not work out for him because I have a little more time to get ready.”
Russell (27-1, 16 KO's) became the WBC Featherweight Champion with a fourth-round knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez on March 28, 2015, in Las Vegas, and defended it one year later with a second-round knockout of Patrick Hyland at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut on April 16, 2016.