Magsayo to dedicate world-title fight to typhoon-ravaged Bohol
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Unbeaten Boholano Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo said he is dedicating his fight against reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) world featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. to the province of Bohol, which was among those greatly affected by super typhoon Odette last December.
“I dedicate this fight to my province in Bohol,” said Magsayo during a virtual presser on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, roughly 10 days before their world title duel with Russel at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, United States on January 22.
The Tagbilaran City native, who has been based in Los Angeles since 2020, said that his family was kept safe from the storm that ravaged most of Bohol and its neighboring provinces.
Magsayo and Russell showed tremendous respect for each other during the virtual presser.
Russell (31 W-1 L, 18KOs) credited Magsayo (23-0, 16KOs) for fighting his way up to become a mandatory challenger for his title, in contrast to other boxers in his division who avoid fighting him.
“The reason I fight Magsayo is because he moved up his way to the rankings and challenge the champion and become the number one contender, he’s the next best guy to the champion,” said Russell, who will be making his sixth title defense.
However, he made it clear that he will emerge victorious against Magsayo.
“The same thing anybody expects, they never really came prepared for this. I expect him to bring his physical and mental best. He’s willing to put all in the line,” said Russell.
He also made it clear that he is not planning to move up weight. Instead, he is planning to become undisputed in the featherweight division and fight the best and those who want to challenge him.
“I’m a champion, it doesn’t make sense for me to move up weight and fight for a contender spot. I’d rather to fight a champ. Everyone I’ve been competing against are the next best guy to the champion,” added Russell.
“I never overlook anybody. Of course, I want the Gervonta Davis fight. But I’m focused on Magsayo. He’s the one who worked his way into this position to fight me.”
Russell hasn’t fought since 2020 when he successfully defended his title against Tugstsogt Nyambayar.
Meanwhile, Magsayo, who is the reigning WBO international featherweight champion, revealed that he learned a lot from his fight with Julio Ceja that earned him the world title shot.
He expects to use the lessons he learned when he faces Russell.
“[It] gave me a lesson on how to box, how to win the fight, and how to adjust for the fight,” said Magsayo, who was joined by his manager and promoter Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions during the virtual presser.
Magsayo earned his shot for a world title via a come-from-behind knockout victory against Ceja in August 2021 in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas world title duel in Las Vegas.
He said he is confident he can win against Russell.
“I respect him, he’s a world champion. But this coming January 22, I’m gonna win the fight. I want to prove the people in the world, I’m the best in my weight class. I’ve been waiting for this time, I’m gonna do my best to win this fight. This is my first world title fight, I’m gonna do my best,” said Magsayo.
He also revealed that they’ve been training with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in downtown Los Angeles for more than three months already.
“My advantage, I’m taller, I’m stronger, I trained for the past three and half months with coach Freddie. We hired sparring partners who can mimic Russell’s movements and style,” added Magsayo.
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.