Unbeatable Mark Magsayo defeated longtime champion Gary Russell Jr by majority decision Saturday night to claim the WBC Featherweight World Championship in the SHOWTIME main event taking place from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic. City, NJ in a Premier Boxing Champions event brimming with action from the telecommunications opener to its conclusion.
Magsayo said: “This is my dream come true. “Ever since I was a kid, this has been my dream. I’m so proud that I’m a champion now. Thank you so much to the Filipino fans for your support. ”
As the heir to Philippine legend Manny Pacquiao, Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) was able to end the reign of the longest male world boxing champion by defeating Russell (31-2, 18 KOs) through 12 tough rounds. Magsayo was able to use his size advantage to lean on Russell throughout the fight and benefited from an obvious wound to Russell’s right shoulder that became evident in the fourth round.
Russell said: “I believe I have torn a tendon in my right shoulder. “I haven’t played in almost two years. This is what real champions do. I want to step into the ring and show my superiority regardless of the injury.
“I had shoulder pain about two weeks ago,” Russell continued. “But I got through the fight because I am a true champion and this is what fighters do. I will fight no matter the situation. I refuse to compete and show off my skill sets to the fans and people who have come to show their support and love. Believe me I will be back. I still want these matches. ”
Magsayo said: “I know that he was injured in the fourth round. “I took advantage of it because he only used one hand. This is my chance to follow suit. My trainer told me to use good combinations and follow through. He said this is your chance to be the champion and now I am the champion.”
Russell apparently injured his shoulder when he threw a short right-handed shot and immediately winced in pain and withdrew from the action. Russell was able to tweak his game plan and succeeded in focusing only on left hand variations. He slowed the action and took out some clean hits to keep Magsayo in a showdown, but it wasn’t enough to win over the umpires.
Freddie Roach-trained Magsayo was able to hit 41% of his power shots in the competition, a significant improvement over the 28% clip that Russell’s eight previous competitors had connected, according to CompuBox. Russell was limited to only throwing 64 shots and was dropped off the ground between 150 and 69.
Magsayo continued to pressurize in the following rounds and was able to go on to win, including an attack that nearly knocked Russell out in the 10th round, surprising the Filipino fans present.
At the end of 12 innings, Magsayo made the referee’s card decision with a score of 114-114 overtaken by two referees seeing round 115-113 for Magsayo. After the battle, Russell said he believed he still won the fight, while Magsayo left open the possibility of a rematch.
“I believe in my skill set and what I bring to the ring,” said Russell. “Honestly, I feel like I still won the war. I want a rematch. Does he want a rematch? That’s the question.”
“It’s up to my advertising team,” Magsayo said when asked about a potential rematch. “But I am ready to fight anyone. Now I’m the champion! ”
In the co-main event, ultralightweight competitor Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) scored a TKO in the ninth round against Petros Ananyan (16-3-2, 7 KOs) after taking down Ananyan at the end of the round, cause the referee to stop the game at the suggestion of the doctor on duty between rounds.
The match was a rematch of the 2020 match that Ananyan won decisively. Matias was able to avenge the only failure of his career and set himself on the path towards a world championship title. The duel was from the inside throughout, with Matias targeting the body early and often, while Ananyan was successful with slashes to the head.
“This is the fight I want,” said Matias, who was jubilant in victory after the incident unfolded quickly. “Since the defeat against him, I want to avenge the loss. When you are sure of yourself and you know that you have the skills that you have, you go into the rematch.”
Matias was able to claim a 252 to 164 advantage in landing punches throughout the fight, including a 59-12 advantage in body punches. Ananyan was more active than Matias by a margin of 761-678 but Matias’ 37% connect rate was higher than Ananyan’s 21% rate.
Matias’ body attack was temporarily countered in round seven, when referee Mary Glover deducted a point early in the round. However, Matias continued to attack the body, and both fighters continued to have strong moments until the end of the match.
In the final seconds of the 9th round, Matias delivered the decisive blow through a reverse hook that instantly severely injured Ananyan and shoved him into the frame. Ananyan was able to get up in time and was saved by the ringing of a bell shortly after. However, between rounds, the doctor in charge of the ring said that Ananyan could not continue anymore and the match was officially ended by TKO after nine rounds.
Matias said: “I’m not just a nasty guy, but the way I fight is like chopping down a tree. “Just keep hitting them. I think I can improve my strength but let’s see what happens with time. I want to thank everyone who made this fight possible, but I will take my time before deciding who I will fight next.”
In the opening match, tough opponent Tugsogt Nyambayar (12-2-1, 9 KOs) and one-time beater Sakaria Lukas (25-1-1, 17 KOs) battled for a decisive draw. spirit after 10 rounds of featherweight super action. The fight featured a controversial slip-and-fall verdict on Lukas that the late substitute should have won.
The back-and-forth saw Nyambayar strike first, connecting at half-time with a left-cut upper that tripped Lukas. Lukas was able to recover quickly, but fell behind in the first rounds as Nyambayar knocked his opponent 67 to 46 in the first five frames.
Lukas started to return to the fight, landing his right arm from a series of stabs, including an overhand that seemed to have hurt Nyambayar in the eighth round. After a right-handed move, Lukas hit the left counter-attack to put Nyambayar, but the knock was deemed missed by referee Eddie Claudio.
“What I saw in real time, he fell not from the impact of the hit but from his body language, he just missed. His feet go and he slips,” the Claudio post told reporter Jim Gray on the sidelines.
The potential missed knockdown call turned out to be the difference in the fight, as Lukas won at least three of the final five innings according to all three judges. The final points were 96-94 for Nyambayar, 96-94 for Lukas and 95-95, the result was a split.
Nyambayar said: “I thought I had won and didn’t believe it was a knockdown. “It was a tough fight, especially against an opponent in the short term. My goal is to fight for the world title again.”
Lukas, who spent the 27-hour flight to the US for the match from Namibia, said: “I fought hard and I deserved to win. I’ve been in the war for a short while, but I’m ready to win. I believe I won the war, but there is nothing I can do about this decision. We had fans behind us, they knew what happened. ”
Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING TV show will replay on Sunday, January 23 at 9 a.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME and Monday, January 24 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME®.
Veteran sportsman Brian Custer hosted the TV show SHOWTIME while versatile combat sports voiceover Mauro Ranallo handled the hit-to-kill action alongside Hall of Fame analyst and champion Al Bernstein. world three class Abner Mares. Three Hall of Famers rounded out the SHOWTIME television crew – Emmy® award-winning reporter Grey, unofficial scorer Steve Farhood and world-renowned TV broadcaster Jimmy Lennon Jr. Executive producer is four-time Emmy Award winner David Dinkins, Jr. produced by Ray Smaltz III and directed by Chuck McKean. Former junior middleweight world champion Raúl “El Diamante” Marquez and athlete Alejandro Luna are Spanish analysts for Sub-Audio Programming (SAP).