MANILA, Philippines – 26-years-old Mark Magsayo became the latest active Filipino champion after winning a majority decision in their fight with 33-year-old Gary Russell Jr. held at Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey last January 23, 2022.
Judges Mark Constantino and Henry Grant scored the fight for Magsayo 115-113, 115-113, effectively overturning Lynne Carter’s 114-114 decision.
Magsayo had been the initiator for the majority of the bout, using his jab and counterpunching to great success in the third round when he injured the shoulder of the defending champion after throwing a short right hand.
Russell began to feel the impact of his sore right shoulder in the fifth inning, throwing only one jab and eventually abandoning his off-hand in the sixth.
Despite suffering from a torn tendon in his right shoulder, which Russell sustained two weeks prior to the bout, it took him until the tenth round to get back to his jab and take advantage of the situation.
Magsayo struck with a beautiful left hook near the end of the 10th inning and another early in the 11th inning as Russell showed his determination by fighting with only one hand.
Magsayo ended the reign of Russell Jr. for 6 years and 10 months and took the WBC featherweight title. Prior to the match, this was the longest current championship rule.
Magsayo’s remarkable achievement of capturing the WBC featherweight title has not only brought him personal glory but also adds to the growing legacy of Filipino boxing champions. With this victory, he solidifies his place as one of the brightest stars in the sport. Magsayo joins the ranks of other talented Filipino fighters who have etched their names in the history books of boxing.
Magsayo became the fifth active Filipino champion joining Rene Cuarto, Jerwin Ancajas, John Riel Casimero, and Nonito Donaire.