Magsayo shows big heart in magnificent win
When he got tagged by a staggering left hook, it appeared the night would end early for Mark Magsayo.
“Ginoo ko, tabangi ko (Lord please help me),” were the thoughts that ran through the mind of Magsayo as he tried to get back up on his feet.
While he pleaded for divine intervention, Magsayo also had to summon all his strength and show tremendous fighting spirit in a sensational sixth-round technical knockout win over American Chris Avalos in a heart-stopping undercard of “The Time Has Come: Donaire versus Bedak” fight card Saturday night at the full-house Cebu City Sports Center.
Magsayo sent the huge crowd on their feet with the gutsy victory to snatch the WBO International featherweight crown.
“Nag ampo lang jud ko. Nalipong man gyud ko pero naningkamot lang jud ko na makatindog balik (I just prayed. I was groggy but I tried hard to stand up),” said Magsayo moments after pulling off the astounding victory.
Magsayo kept his unbeaten record intact, pocketing his 14th straight win now spiked by 10 knockout victories.
More importantly, the win taught Magsayo important lessons.
“Nakat-onan nako na dapat naay pasensya ug di mawad-an ug pag-asa (I learned that I have to be patient and not to lose hope),” said the 20-year-old Magsayo.
Magsayo seemed too eager in the opening rounds and nearly paid dearly for it.
Magsayo thought he had the win in the bag in the second round, throwing a flurry of punches and attacking Avalos no end.
Though wobbly, Avalos survived the onslaught.
Magsayo looked gassed out in the third and Avalos was quick to pounce on the opportunity, dealing the ALA Gym fighter his first knockdown in his young career.
“I was not too worried when he fell. I saw it in his eyes that he wanted to continue fighting,” said Magayo’s trainer Edmund Villamor.
Magsayo regrouped. He threw some wild left hooks and engaged Avalos in a torrid exchange.
In a major turnaround, Magsayo took the fifth round by storm, flooring Avalos with a left hook.
Magsayo pressed on the attack and punished Avalos with solid shots to the body and head.
Avalos was about to go down but was saved by the bell.
The ring physician checked on Avalos after the eventful fifth round. It took a while before Avalos could stand from his corner for the start of the sixth, prompting Magsayo’s corner to complain.
When the action resumed, Magsayo continued the onslaught, pinning Avalos against the ropes with his combinations still finding their targets.
With Avalos taking a lot of beating from Magsayo, referee Danrex Tapdasan waved off the fight.
The ending came at the 1:55 mark of the sixth. Avalos went down with only his fifth defeat to go with 26 wins, including 19 knockout victories.
“I was surprised when he tried to finish off Avalos in the second round. He became impatient. When he fell in the third, I just told him to take it easy. Just move in and out and clinch if needed so he can recover,” said Villamor.
Michael Aldeguer, CEO/President of ALA Promotions International, said Magsayo getting knocked down was something they expected.
“My father, who started Magsayo at nine years old in our gym, told him that he is going to be knocked down. Mark was advised to just calm down, stand up and get back,” said Aldeguer.
“We told Mark that he has to be ready since it would be the toughest fight that he’s gonna face,” Aldeguer added.
By surviving Avalos, Magsayo has proven a lot, said Aldeguer.
“We were not sure if we made the right decision. A 13-fight fighter and only at 20 years old against a guy who fought the best and was exposed in the US. Mark showed he can deliver in the big stage,” said Aldeguer.
Aldeguer said Magsayo showed what kind of a fighter he is, adding that the fighter nicknamed “Magnifico” possessed qualities that some ALA Gym fighters don’t have.
“We had Boom-Boom (Bautista) in the past. Boom-Boom had the heart but didn’t have the skill that Magsayo has. We also had (AJ) Banal but he could not take a punch. We wanted to know if Magsayo really has it,” Aldeguer said.
Though it was an impressive win, Magsayo still has a long way to go, according to Aldeguer.
“It is still very far. It’s not a reason to get excited now. He still a lot of weaknesses and needs to work on a lot of things. But he showed a heart, he showed he has a chin and that what’s important,” said Aldeguer.
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