Mark Magsayo emerged victorious in a thrilling showdown against longtime champion Gary Russell Jr. to claim the WBC Featherweight World Championship on Saturday night. The highly-anticipated bout took place at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., as part of a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Expressing his elation, Magsayo exclaimed, “This is truly a dream come true for me. Ever since I was a young boy, becoming a champion has been my ultimate goal. I am incredibly proud to have achieved it, and I am incredibly grateful to the Filipino fans for their unwavering support.”
Magsayo, who has been mentored by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, delivered an outstanding performance, overcoming 12 grueling rounds to dethrone Russell. Magsayo’s size advantage played a crucial role as he relentlessly pressed forward, applying pressure on Russell. Furthermore, Russell’s injury to his right shoulder in the fourth round proved advantageous for Magsayo.
Admitting to his injury, Russell admitted, “I believe I have a torn tendon in my right shoulder. Despite not having competed for nearly two years, I wanted to prove my superiority in the ring. I decided to go ahead with the fight despite the injury.”
Magsayo, however, seized this opportunity and capitalized on Russell’s weakened state. Taking advantage of Russell’s limited use of his right hand, Magsayo executed strategic combinations, ultimately solidifying his claim to the championship. Magsayo’s coach encouraged him to make the most of this chance, reminding him that this was his moment to become a champion, and he delivered.
Russell made a valiant effort to adjust his strategy, relying solely on his left hand. Nevertheless, Magsayo’s superior power and accurate punching proved to be decisive factors in the fight. According to CompuBox, Magsayo connected with 41% of his power shots, a vast improvement compared to Russell’s previous opponents, who averaged only 28%.
As the rounds progressed, Magsayo consistently applied pressure, eventually securing the victory. In round ten, Magsayo launched a fierce attack that nearly sent Russell to the canvas, thrilling the Filipino fans in attendance.
At the end of the 12 rounds, the judges’ decision was close, with one judge ruling it a draw at 114-114, while the other two judges scored 115-113 in Magsayo’s favor. Russell, however, maintained that he believed he had won the fight, while Magsayo expressed openness to a potential rematch.
“I have full confidence in my skills and what I bring to the ring,” stated Russell. “I genuinely believe I emerged as the victor. I definitely want a rematch. The question is, does he?”
When asked about the possibility of a rematch, Magsayo left the decision to his promotional team but expressed willingness to face any challengers, asserting, “I am the champion now!”
For more information on Gary Russell Jr. and Mark Magsayo, visit PremierBoxingChampions.com. Stay updated by signing up for fight alerts and following Premier Boxing Champions on social media.