Will there be a rematch?
Talks of which floated just moments after Mark Magsayo took down Gary Russell Jr. to capture the WBC featherweight championship, Sunday (Manila time) at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
That’s because the erstwhile title-holder headed into the match was not in top condition. Days prior to the fight, he disclosed that he’s nursing a ‘little slight injury,’ although he did not elaborate further what exactly that was.
Russell Jr. then disclosed after the match that he might have suffered a torn tendon on his right shoulder, the reason why he was forced to fight with just one hand from the fourth round all the way to the end.
It was the American southpaw’s first match in nearly two years, or since February 8, 2020 where he successfully defended his belt via unanimous decision over Tugstsogt Nyambayar of Mongolia.
Still, he refused to offer excuses saying, “I believe I have a torn tendon in my right shoulder. I haven’t competed in almost two years. But this is what champions do. I wanna step into the ring … regardless of the injury and whatnot.”
Russell Jr. definitely wants another shot at Magsayo.
“Hell yeah,” expressed the 33-year-old, who was boxing’s longest-reigning champion before he bowed to ‘Magnifico’ via majority decision.
“Will he want a rematch? That’s the question. I’d rematch him.”
Magsayo, for his part, said that it will all depend on their respective promotions if they would want another chapter with Russell Jr. sometime soon. Though he said, too, that he’s willing to fight anybody who wants his strap.
Even Russell Jr., of course.
“It’s up to Sir Sean Gibbons and my promotions. It’s up to them,” said the 26-year-old from Tagbilaran, who improved his record to 24-0.
“But I’m willing to fight anybody now, I’m a champion now.”
But before they all go back to the table to discuss what’s next, Magsayo and his team will surely enjoy such a historic achievement, which made him the latest addition to a long list of Filipino boxing champions.
“This is my dream. My dream did come true!” he said. “This [has been] my dream since I was a kid since I was an amateur.
“Now I’m a professional. And now, I’m a champion. This is my dream.”