Featherweight Gary Russell, the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year, was diagnosed Tuesday with a hairline fracture of his left hand, publicist Julie Goldsticker told ESPN.com.
A southpaw, Russell (22-0, 13 KOs), 24, of Capitol Heights, Md., suffered the injury during his shutout 10-round decision against Vyacheslav Gusev (20-3, 5 KOs) of Russia on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The bout was on the undercard of the lightweight title bout between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere.
Russell, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, dropped Gusev with a right hand in the third round, but fractured his left hand in the fourth or fifth round. Russell was not sure exactly when it happened, but he relied almost solely on his right hand for the remainder of the fight and still won 100-89 on all three judges' scorecards.
"They have told him to rest it for four or five weeks and he should be good to go," Goldsticker said.
An ankle injury is part of the reason why Russell was limited to just two fights in 2012. Without any more serious injury setbacks, he hopes to fight for a world title by the end of this year.
He named three fighters he would like to fight: former featherweight titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, reigning titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon and interim junior lightweight titlist and former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa. All three would be major steps up in the level of opposition Russell has faced.
"Ponce De Leon has been holding that belt for me," Russell said before facing Gusev. "I hope he beats (Abner) Mares (on April 20) and then fights me. I also want to get my hands on Gamboa. He's undefeated and I want to get my hands on him before anyone gives him a loss. He's a really reckless fighter. He takes too many chances and gets hit too much.
"I would love to fight those guys. I'm on the edge of my seat every time Gamboa and Lopez fight because I don't want anyone to beat them because I want to do it. I know Lopez lost a couple of fights already, but I want to put another 'L' on him. I know I have the skills and talent to beat them."