Mark Magsayo becomes latest Filipino world champion, edges Gary Russell Jr.

Mark Magsayo Gary Russell

Mark Magsayo applies the pressure on Gary Russell Jr. in their featherweight world title fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Photo from Showtime Boxing Twitter

MANILA, Philippines—Mark Magsayo joined the pantheon of Filipino boxing champions after he wrested the WBC featherweight title from Gary Russell Jr. with a majority decision win Sunday at Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The 26-year-old became the fifth active Filipino champion joining Rene Cuarto, Jerwin Ancajas, John Riel Casimero, and Nonito Donaire.

Judges Mark Constantino and Henry Grant scored the fight 115-113, 115-113 in favor of Magsayo effectively overturning Lynne Carter’s card of 114-114.

Magsayo, who was the aggressor for much of the fight, utilized his jab and counterpunching to great effect and had Russell hurt in the third.

Russell eventually felt the effects of his bum right shoulder as he threw just one jab in the fifth and ultimately abandoned his off-hand starting in the sixth.

Despite Russell nursing an injured right shoulder, a torn tendon which the American said he sustained two weeks before the fight, it took Magsayo until the 10th to get back to his jab and take advantage of the situation.

Magsayo landed a crisp left hook near the end of the 10th and connected with another early in the 11th as Russell displayed his heart fighting with just one hand.

The Filipino’s victory ended Russell’s reign of six years and 10 months, which was the longest active championship rule prior to the match.

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