Mark Magsayo showed grit beyond his years.
The fighting pride of Tagbiliran City, Bohol outlasted Gary Russell, winning by majority decision (115-113, 115-113, 114-114) to win the World Boxing Council World Featherweight Championship, Sunday morning (Manila time) at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“This is my dream – Dreams do come true!” expressed Magsayo, who became the 45th Filipino world champion in the sweet science. “This is my dream since I was a kid to become a world champion.”
Knowing that Russell was nursing a right shoulder injury, the Filipino continuously pressured the defending champion with body shots during the early-goings of the 12-round affair.
“I got hurt about two weeks ago,” admitted Russell. “I’m a true champion, this is what champions do. I refuse to not compete.”
Not a 100-percent, Russell, 33, used his veteran-savvy in weaving his way out of Magsayo’s combination while utilizing his left to connect.
However, Russell could not contain Magsayo late to see his long reign end.
“Good combination, follow-through, follow-through. Now I became a champion!” said Magsayo about his game plan.
Magsayo raised his record to 24-0 while ending Russell’s reign that began last March 28, 2015.
All in all, Magsayo landed 150 shots compared to just 68 for the American. Though only landing 10 jabs, the Filipino connected on 140 power shots with 41-percent accuracy.
Asked about what is next, Magsayo is taking on all challengers.
“It’s up to Al Haymon. I will fight anyone now that I am a champion.”
About two weeks ago. I’ll get my shoulders fixed. I still feel like I won the fight.
Magsayo becomes the fifth reigning Filipino world champion in the sweet science, joining Nonito Donaire (WBC Bantamweight), John Riel Casimero (WBO Bantamweight), Jerwin Ancajas (IBF Super Flyweight), and Rene Mark Cuarto (IBF Strawweight).