Mark Magsayo tapped as mandatory challenger vs champ Gary Russell Jr.
MANILA, Philippines — After putting on a gutsy performance last August, undefeated Filipino Mark Magsayo earned his first shot at a world title.
Magsayo has been tapped by the World Boxing Council (WBC) as mandatory challenger for the WBC featherweight belt currently held by Gary Russell Jr.
The organization, one of four major sanctioning bodies for pro boxing, made the announcement on Tuesday.
Magsayo had said his “dream fight” would be against Russell, who has held the WBC strap since March 2015.
“I want the WBC title, of course,” Magsayo told boxingscene.com. “If Gary Russell’s not moving up, I want to fight him. If I have an opportunity to fight Gary Russell, then my dream fight would come true.”
Magsayo also took a swipe at Russell (31-1, 18 KOs) for only fighting once a year. The 32-year-old American has only defended his belt five times since claiming it following a fourth-round stoppage of Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez.
“Because he fights once a year,” Magsay said with a laugh. “That’s why he has held the title the longest.”
Exactly a month ago, Magsayo showed tremendous heart and resiliency when he knocked out Mexican warrior Julio Ceja in the 10th round of their WBC title eliminator in Las Vegas.
The 26-year-old Tacloban City, Leyte native survived a fifth round knockdown before scoring a spectacular finish against Ceja to improve his record to 23 wins with 16 knockouts.
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