'Welcome to the club': Pacquiao congratulates Magsayo after world title win

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2022 03:02 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2022 03:38 PM

Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo (right) fights against Gary Russell Jr. in their WBC featherweight title showdown. Amanda Westcott, Showtime.
Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo (right) fights against Gary Russell Jr. in their WBC featherweight title showdown. Amanda Westcott, Showtime.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Retired world boxing champion and presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao hailed his protege, Mark Magsayo, after the young boxer's triumph in his first ever world title fight.

"Magnifico" defeated American Gary Russell Jr. via majority decision to become the new WBC featherweight champion on Saturday in New Jersey (Sunday in Manila).

Magsayo, 26, fights under Pacquiao's MP Promotions banner.

"Congratulations, Mark Magsayo, on your first world championship!" tweeted Pacquiao after Magsayo's bout. "Thank you for bringing honor to our country by becoming the latest Filipino world boxing champion."

"Welcome to the club," added Pacquiao, who remains the lone boxer to have won world titles in eight different weight divisions.

After Magsayo's triumph, there are now five active Filipino boxers who are holding world titles.

He joins Jerwin Ancajas (IBF super flyweight), Rene Cuarto (IBF minimumweight), John Riel Casimero (WBO bantamweight), and Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire (WBC bantamweight).

Malacañang also hailed Magsayo's achievement.

"We are one with the Filipino people in celebrating the victory of Mark 'Magnifico' Magsayo when he dethroned Gary Russell Jr. to become the new WBC featherweight champion," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Sunday.

"We thank Mark for giving pride and honor to the country and demonstrating to the world the courage, determination and perseverance of the Filipino boxer," he added. "Mabuhay ang new world champion! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!"

Also extending his congratulations to Magsayo is vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who noted that the boxer's victory is good news for his hometown of Bohol, which was greatly affected by Typhoon Odette last month.

"Hindi lamang karangalan ang ibinibigay ni Magsayo sa ating lahat kundi pag-asa na ang mga Pilipino ay may tapang at kakayanan na magtagumpay sa gitna ng anumang pagsubok gaya ng kinakaharap nating pandemya at ang katatapos na bagyong Odette na sumalanta sa Pilipinas kabilang na ang Bohol kung saan isinilang ang ating kampeon," Pangilinan said in a statement.

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