by Edri Aznar
UNBEATEN rising star Mark Magsayo attempts to dethrone longtime World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. today, Jan. 23, 2022 (PH time) at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Magsayo easily made weight at 125 1/2 pounds. Russell, on the other hand, was half a pound overweight in his first attempt. He was given an hour to shed off the excess weight and made weight in his second attempt at 125 1/2 pounds.
This is the 26-year-old Magsayo’s first attempt at a world title.
After training most of his career at the now defunct ALA Gym, Magsayo now trains under the tutelage of legendary coach Freddie Roach. He started his US campaign in 2020 with a split decision over Rigoberto Hermosillo. He followed it up with a fourth round technical knockout of Pablo Cruz in early 2021 before winning the biggest fight of his career, a 10th round knockout of former world champion Julio Ceja.
The 33-year-old Russell, in the meantime, is coming off long layoff. He has not fought since successfully defending his belt against Tugstsogt Nyambayar, who he beat by unanimous decision.
Russell has held the WBC featherweight belt since 2015 after defeating then champion Jhonny Gonzalez via a fourth round stoppage. He has successfully defended his belt five times.
Magsayo is 23-0 with 16 knockouts, while Russell is 31-1 with 18 knockouts.