Mark Magsayo is entering his first world title bout full of confidence.
In fact, the unbeaten 26-year-old out of Tacloban City, Leyte – who has 16 knockouts to his name – gave World Boxing Council Featherweight Champion Gary Russel Jr. (31-1, 18KOs) a stern warning.
“I’m very thankful to my whole team for making this fight happen,” said Magsayo. “I’ve been training for three and a half months now, so I’m going to be well prepared for this fight.
“I don’t think Gary has faced anyone since he became champion that has the skills that I have. I’m going to go in there to show him something he’s never seen before and we’ll see how he reacts.”
Over the past seven years, Russell has been on a tear.
Winning the WBC crown back in March of 2015 after a fourth round thrashing of Jhonny González, the Washington DC-born pugilist tore through the likes of Patrick Hyland, Óscar Escandón, Joseph Diaz, Kiko Martínez, and Tugstsogt Nyambayar. All but two of those bouts reached the distance.
Meanwhile, Magsayo has stopped Rigoberto Hermosillo, Pablo Cruz, and Julio Ceja ever since stepping foot in the US back in 2020.
And after winning the World Boxing Organization International crown last August, Magsayo was named as the mandatory challenger for Russell — a challenge he welcomes with open arms.
“I respect Gary Russell Jr., he’s a great champion, but I’m winning this fight on January 22. I want to prove to people everywhere that I’m the best featherweight in the world.
“I’m going to show the world that I’m the best at this weight. This is the fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. I’ve been waiting patiently for my chance and I’m ready to do my best,” said Magsayo, who is seven years the junior of Russell.
Come fight night on January 23 at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Magsayo is not just gunning for the crown. He is looking to prove that he belongs to the elite.
“I’m going to be the stronger fighter against Russell. We trained every day with Freddie Roach and we’ve worked on a lot of different techniques we’ll use in this fight,” he vowed.
“I know he’s going to bring his talent into the ring, but I’m going to show everybody that I can deliver a great fight and become champion.”