Mark Magsayo ready for brawl in bid to dethrone Gary Russell Jr. | Inquirer Sports
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Mark Magsayo ready for brawl in bid to dethrone Gary Russell Jr.

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 04:47 PM January 21, 2022
Gary Russell Jr and Mark Magsayo during the pre-fight press conference  ahead of their featherweight bout.

Gary Russell Jr and Mark Magsayo during the pre-fight press conference ahead of their featherweight bout. SHOWTIME PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—It may have been all pleasantries on the microphone, but both Mark Magsayo and Gary Russell Jr. are expecting a barnburner once they square off on Sunday (Manila time) at Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

Magsayo, who holds a perfect 23-0 record, believes he will be the first fighter to end Russell’s nearly seven-year reign as the WBC featherweight champion.

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“Maybe I’m the one to beat him, give him his second loss,” said Magsayo in the pre-fight press conference Friday (Manila time).”He’s a really good fighter. Since I was a kid I was aiming for a World title fight, now this opportunity comes to me that’s why I was so excited when I won the mandatory for Gary Russell.”

“I can fight, I can adjust in the middle of the fight. He has speed, I have speed, so let’s see on Saturday, let’s brawl.”

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The Filipino fighter who earned his title shot after he knocked out Julio Ceja in the 10th round in August 2021.

Russell became the WBC featherweight champion in March 2015 when he stopped Jhonny Gonzalez in four rounds in Las Vegas. 

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Since then, Russell defended the belt five times with his last defense a unanimous decision win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar in February 2020.

While Russell hasn’t fought in nearly two years, he assured that there won’t be any ring rust come fight night.

“There are no concerns about ring rust. I’m always in the gym. I haven’t taken two months off from training since I was about four or five. Boxing is not just what I do, it’s a lifestyle for me,” said Russell, who also hit at the criticisms that he has yet to defend against top fighters.

“Stop acting like a sucker and get in the ring, point blank point period. We’re gladiators, we’re fighters, conduct yourself as such and be a fighter. Don’t pick and choose who you fight against, let’s fight. I take my hat off to Mark because he’s one of these guys who are willing to step into the ring, and willing to actually compete and put it all on the line.”

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