Mark Magsayo becomes no. 45.
The 26-year-old native of Tagbiliran City, Bohol became the 45th member of the ultra-exclusive club started by Pancho Villa in 1923 – the Filipino boxing world champions group.
On Sunday (Manila time), Magsayo ended the seven-year reign of Gary Russell, eking out a majority decision (115-113, 115-113, 114-114) to win the World Boxing Council World Featherweight Championship in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
And watching from Manila was Manny Pacquiao, the chief of MP Promotions which is Magsayo’s home.
The eight-division boxing world champion, who is no. 27, was the first to induct his ward to the club.
“Congratulations, Mark Magsayo, on your first world championship,” tweeted Pacquiao. “Thank you for bringing honor to our country by becoming the latest Filipino world boxing champion.
“Welcome to the club.”
Pacquiao is seen as one of the greatest ever to ever grace the squared circle, winning the WBC Flyweight, IBF Super bantamweight, The Ring Featherweight, WBC Super featherweight, The Ring Super featherweight, WBC Lightweight, The Ring Light welterweight, WBO Welterweight, WBC Light middleweight, and WBA (Super) Welterweight world championships in a career that spanned two decades.
Magsayo, meanwhile, became the fifth Filipino champion in the 126-pound division after Villa, Luisito Espinosa, Pacquiao, and Nonito Donaire.
With Magsayo still about to hit his prime, he is definitely on his way to greatness.