The biggest boxing stage so far in the young career of Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo is set, and Bohol’s fighting pride seeks to impress in a bout against a Mexican brawler to finally be considered a world title contender.
Just two years after fighting at the old Bohol Wisdom School Gymnasium in Tagbilaran City, Magsayo will showcase his wares for the first time under the bright lights of fight capital Las Vegas in Nevada.
Magsayo tangles with former world champion Julio Ceja in one of the three undercard fights of the Pacquiao-Spence mega bout at T-Mobile Arena.
“First time, and dream come true na ma-undercard ni Senator Manny. Giingon pa ni Mayor Baba Yap nako sauna na ‘maghinaut unta ko na maka undercard ka ni Senator Pacquiao.’ Wa gyud siya masayop, na undercard na jud ko,” said Magsayo.
A decisive victory against Ceja in their featherweight title eliminator bout would catapult Magsayo’s promising career to greater heights, and the 26-year-old acknowledged this in an interview with the Chronicle.
Magsayo said winning against Ceja would earn him a chance to go up against WBC champion Garry Russell, Jr. or WBO champion Emanuel Navarrete.
“Gi butang ni sir [MP Promotions president] Sean Gibbons na WBC ug WBO kay og mo daog ko ani pohon kaluy-an ko, Russell or Navarrete, naa ra nilang duha akong ma-kontra. Ky og mo ingon na WBC eliminator, pag mo daog ko ana pohon, akoy mag number one sa WBC,” Magsayo said.
The championship bout could be staged in the last quarter or in early 2022.
However, the Tagbilaran City native (22-0 with 15 knockouts) is not looking past Ceja (34-4-1) who is a tough opponent.
Magsayo took a month-long break after demolishing Pablo Cruz in a fourth-round technical knockout in April this year and has since been hard at work at the famed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Less than a month before his bout, Magsayo said he is “90 percent” ready for the Ceja bout.
According to Magsayo, he has been working on his hooks and uppercuts to fend off Ceja who is a known brawler.
The Boholano who has been in the US with his wife Frances for more than a year has also been sparring with high-caliber fighters for six weeks already to help him get tuned up for the fight.
“Mao na akong gi-praktisan og ayo kay sige ra man na siyog sud, brawler man ni siya, so sud lang siya ng sud, mo kaon gyud og kumo ba,” he said.
The undefeated slugger has also adapted to the training regimen of hall-of-fame coach Freddie Roach, who has been his mentor for two bouts.
“Ikatulo nako pohon na training with coach Freddie, first training ni coach wala pa ko ka adjust kay first time pa nako under sa kamot niya, pero karon wala nay pressure kay naanad na sa mga language ni Coach Freddie, nagkasundo na,” said Magsayo.
He added that training under Roach molded him into a better fighter while working alongside his idol and boss Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym provided extra motivation.
“First time nako makita ang training ni Senator Pacquiao sa gym, nalipay kaayo ka na nakita nako akong idol na nagtraining nakadugang og inspirasyon sa akong kaugalingon,” he said.
Magsayo clashes with Ceja on August 22 (Manila time) before Pacquiao slugs it out with Errol Spence, Jr. in what is widely deemed as the biggest fight of the year.
While confident that he would triumph over Ceja, Magsayo still called for support and prayers from his fans in Bohol and the rest of the Philippines.
“Sa fans sa Bohol at sa buong Pilipinas na abangan among umaabotay na away, nindot kaayo na away ni ug naghinaot ko na inyo kong e-ampo na makadaog mi ni Senator Manny Pacquiao pohon,” said Magsayo.