Gary Russell Jr. is ready to end another layoff.
The featherweight champion and Mark Magsayo have struck a deal for a Jan. 22 title fight that will headline a PBC on Showtime event, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Since Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) captured a 126-pound title in March 2015, he has competed once annually with the exception of 2021. The defense against Magsayo will end a career-long 23-month hiatus from the ring.
When he does compete, Russell, 33, is one of the most talented boxers in the world. His blend of speed, power and ring IQ lifted him to the No. 1 spot in ESPN's featherweight rankings before he was removed due to inactivity.
His nearly seven-year title reign at 126 pounds is highlighted by a 2018 decision victory over Joseph Diaz Jr. Russell's first title shot was thwarted by Vasiliy Lomachenko via decision in 2014.
Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) will attempt to become the second man to defeat Russell. The 26-year-old Filipino boxer scored a career-best win in August, a brutal 10th-round knockout of Julio Ceja.
Magsayo was floored in Round 5 of that bout, which was featured on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's farewell fight (Magsayo is promoted by Pacquiao.)
News of the Russell-Magsayo bout was first reported by BoxingScene.