Russell Jr., WBC champ, on upcoming Magsayo fight: I’m not bothered by injury, ring rust
CEBU CITY, Philippines— The reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) world featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. is unbothered of his minor injury ahead of his mandatory title defense against Boholano Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo on Saturday, January 22 (Sunday, January 23, Manila Time) in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In their final presser on Friday, Russell Jr. reassured everyone that he was in great shape amid the injury that he was not willing to elaborate. He also stated that he was not affected by ring rust for not fighting for nearly two years.
“Hell Nah, because at the end of the day, I’m a gladiator, I’m a warrior. I love what I do. I love competing and showing the boxing fans the skill set that I bring to the sport of boxing. Nothing came easy for us,” said the 33-year-old American.
“No concerns, I’m always in the gym. Boxing is not just something that I do; it’s a lifestyle for me. So even after the conclusion of my sport, I will still be in the gym, training to keep myself in a certain type of condition and a certain type of shape regardless of the situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Magsayo doesn’t take Russell’s injury and inactivity as his advantages. Instead, he vows to dethrone the American world champion.
“He’s a really good fighter. I’ve wanted to fight for a world title since I’m a kid. I was aiming for a world title fight and becoming the mandatory challenger of Gary Russell. There’s no ring rust for him. He’s still good. Maybe I’m the one who can beat him, He’s gonna have his second loss on Saturday night,” said Magsayo.
Russell (31-1, 18KOs) credited Magsayo for the latter’s will to fight him, unlike other contenders in their division who allegedly avoided him.
“I take my hat off to Mark; he’s one of these guys who are willing to step in the ring and willing to compete and put it all on the line. He wants to become the champion and I know he’s gonna give his best. A lot of these guys that become champions they tend to try to hide and the shadows at some point. So I know Mark’s gonna do his best, It’s a pleasure to share the field of battle with you,” said Russell.
The 26-year-old Magsayo (23-0, 16KOs), the pride of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, also answered the question about his advantage over Russell, considering the latter already defended the title five times.
“I can fight, I can adjust in the middle of the fight. I have the speed. So, let’s see it on Saturday, let’s brawl. There’s a lot of people (that) say that I don’t have the same skills as him (Russell), but Filipinos are Filipinos, we are born strong, we are warriors,” added Magsayo.
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