Magsayo unseats Russell Jr. to become new WBC Featherweight champion

By Ryann Yap

PHOTO: Bad Left Hook, Global Boxing News, and Commentary 


After 12 rounds of action-packed clash, Pinoy boxer Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo was able to turn tables around and snatch the honors from a dethroned champion.

Entering the match as an underdog, Magsayo exhibited his offensive dominance as he seized the World Boxing Council (WBC) Featherweight Championship belt via majority decision over Gary Russell Jr., at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sunday (PhST).

Despite an even 114-114 resolve given by one of the judges, Magsayo’s performance was able to obtain two 115-113 scorecards to secure the win and prolong his untouched 24-0 boxing resume.

Russell Jr. seemed to be the tough fighter at the early stages of the match, but an obvious nerf in the fourth round due to a right shoulder injury, combined with Magsayo’s non-stop aggression, ended his six-year Featherweight title reign.

"This is my dream since I was a kid since I’m an amateur, and now I’m a professional and I’m a champion,” Magsayo said in the post-fight interview.

Magsayo also expressed his post-game thoughts about the WBC title achievement, as well as their tactics to outplay Rusell Jr. in the ring.

“Coach Freddie [Roach] said to me [to make] good combination, follow-through, and follow-through and this is it, this is going to be your dream, you will become world champion now,” he added.

The Filipino opened up the match hot as he landed a solid body shot at the 50-second mark, then continued his brilliance in the second round after he precisely hit an uppercut on Russell Jr.’s jaw within the 2:28 time.

Russell Jr., on the other hand, mastered his left hooks and straights as he countered Magsayo in the 2:06 mark of the same round all the way to round three, enough to keep up with his opponent.

Magsayo immediately stormed the fourth round and banged a right hook at the 2:34 mark.

Afterward, Russell Jr. threw a right counterpunch that caused his right shoulder injury and it noticeably forced him to play more defensively in the next rounds.

The 33-year-old Russell Jr. was known for using the right jabs to execute his attacks, but in this brawl, he only had a total of 64 compared to the 203 jabs thrown by Magsayo.

In the eighth round, Gary became more accurate on landing his left straights, especially on the 1:16 mark, added with his tremendous defense and footwork to let Magsayo miss his punches.

But starting off the 10th round, Magsayo regained his momentum and dragged Russell Jr. to the ropes much more often up until the final bell in the last phase.



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