Boxing: Magsayo brings Pacquiao-like work ethic in world-title challenge

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2022 06:00 PM

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Renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach believes Filipino world-title challenger Mark Magsayo has the right attitude heading to his bout on Saturday (US time).

Roach lauded Magsayo to the point of comparing the Tagbilaran City native to the trainer's most prized fighter.

“(Mark) has a lot of heart, he listens well in the gym, he trains hard. Like Manny Pacquiao, he’s a hard worker,” Roach said in an interview posted on Ring magazine.

“The only reason Manny won eight world titles is because of his work ethic. His work ethic got him all the way there, and Mark is the same way.”

Magsayo battles American champion Gary Russell Jr. for the WBC featherweight belt in Atlantic City on Saturday, the Filipino fighter's first crack at a world title. 

Against Magsayo, who earned the mandatory challenge after a 10th round knockout of Julio Ceja of Mexico in August 2021, the crafty Russell is making his 6th consecutive title defense.

In Friday's weigh-in, Magsayo and Russell tipped the scales at a similar 125.5 pounds.

Magsayo holds an immaculate record of 23 wins with 16 KOs while Russell, the WBC champion since 2015, sports a 31-1 win-loss slate. 

The American boxer's only defeat came in the hands of Ukrainian legend Vasyl Lomachenko.

"Gary Russell underestimates my ability. He thinks that I’m slow," Magsayo said in an interview posted on BoxingScene.com. 

"It’s good to think that I’m slow, so that he can be surprised when I face him.”

Magsayo's last bout was a stunning victory over Ceja in a thrilling featherweight showdown in Las Vegas on August 21, 2021.

Magsayo landed a pair of vicious right hands in the 10th round to bludgeon Ceja, who crashed to the canvas, a result that made Magsayo the No. 1 contender to the WBC featherweight title.