Boxing: Magsayo knocks out Julio Ceja in thriller, stays unbeaten

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2021 10:53 AM | Updated as of Aug 22 2021 12:02 PM

Mark Magsayo (L) of the Philippines fights against Julio Ceja of Mexico during the WBA Featherweight Title Eliminator boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21, 2021. Patrick T. Fallon, AFP.
Mark Magsayo (L) of the Philippines fights against Julio Ceja of Mexico during the WBA Featherweight Title Eliminator boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21, 2021. Patrick T. Fallon, AFP.

(UPDATED) Filipino boxer Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo is one step closer to a world title shot, after a stunning victory over Mexico's Julio Ceja in their featherweight showdown on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).

In a featured bout in the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas pay-per-view, the 26-year-old Magsayo overcame adversity -- including a knockdown in the fifth round -- to defeat Ceja.

In the pivotal 10th round, Magsayo landed a perfect right hand that clearly rocked Ceja and sent him stumbling. Another right hand to the face finished off the job, and Ceja crashed to the canvas, out cold.

The time of the knockout was 50 seconds in round 10, as Magsayo celebrated with a backflip in the center of the ring.

The Filipino improved to 23-0 in his professional career, with 16 victories coming by knockout. More importantly, the impressive victory made Magsayo the No. 1 contender to the WBC featherweight championship that is currently held by Gary Russell Jr. of the United States.

He also became the WBO international featherweight champion.

Magsayo got off to a blistering start in the fight and knocked down Ceja inside the first 30 seconds of the first round with a left hook, but could not finish off the Mexican who grew stronger as the rounds went on.

Ceja targeted Magsayo's body in the ensuing rounds and his aggression paid off late in the fifth, when he landed a left hook that sent the Filipino to his knees. Magsayo beat the count just as the bell rang.

The Filipino boxer tried to recover in the following rounds though Ceja remained the busier fighter. But he showed a sense of urgency in the tenth round, and he landed the biggest punches of the bout with a pair of rights that marked the end for Ceja.

Ceja, 28, dropped to 32-5-1 in his career. A former super bantamweight champion, he has not won a bout since November 2017 when he outpointed Breilor Teran.