By Justine Juyad

PHOTO: Bad Left Hook

The last man standing is now dethroned.

Philippines' last active World boxing champion, Mark Magsayo, suffered his first career loss as he bowed down to Rey Vargas via split decision in his first title defense of the WBC World Featherweight belt in San Antonio, USA on Sunday (PH Time).

The Tagbilaran City-native struggled to land clearer shots against the Mexican giant slugger in half of the showdown, failing to pull off a shocking finish resulting in a 112-115, 112-115, and 114-113 loss.

“It’s this today, no matter what I’ll come back stronger, I’m disappointed but I did my best,” Magsayo stated after the loss that stained his untarnished career.

Magnifico Magsayo fell to 24-1 (16 KOs) while the now a 2-division World champion improved to 36-0 (22 KOs).

Both boxers connected 29% of their overall thrown punches but Vargas still outpunched the 20-year-old Pinoy, landing 196 out of 687 compared to Magsayo's 132/451.

The 5-foot-11 Mexican shockingly outlanded the 5'6" Pinoy in terms of body punches, 45-13, while Magsayo got a slight edge in jabs accuracy, 20% to 18%.

Magsayo established a sizable start as he aggressively threw heavy punches early and landed some, targeting his opponent's chin in an attempt to take early control.

Mark may have struggled in the middle rounds but he roared back in the 9th and dropped Vargas after landing a strong straight right to the head.

However, his heroics to flip the scorecard came too late as the Mexican managed to stay composed until the final bell.

The 31-year-old Mexican used his reach advantage to control the bout, mainly in middle rounds, as he managed to counter his opponent's overhand punches and landed clearer shots, enough to snatch the WBC world title.

“I’m at a loss of words. I worked hard for this. I want to thank God, my family, [trainer] Nacho [Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it greatly but this one is special,” said the new WBC World featherweight champion after a hard-fought win.

The undefeated champion is eyeing a possible unification bout preferably against the current WBA title holder Leo Santa Cruz.

Edited by Jostle Pilayre