By CARLO ANOLIN
Undefeated Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo has finally fulfilled his long-time dream of fighting alongside his idol Manny Pacquiao.
Serving as an undercard in the main event between Pacquiao and Cuban Yordenis Ugas, Magsayo is more than grateful to be part of history at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, Aug. 21 there when he takes on Mexican opponent Julio Ceja in a featherweight bout.
“I was dreaming of this fight and praying that I hope I’m one of the undercards for Senator Manny Pacquiao and now my dream has come true,” said Magsayo during the final press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “So I’m gonna put my best for this fight and I’m sure I’m gonna win this fight.”
Now a “better fighter,” Magsayo also expressed gratitude to legendary coach Freddie Roach, who also honed Pacquiao in becoming the only eight-division world champion, for the guidance since he joined MP Promotions in March last year.
Magsayo said Roach has corrected not only his style but also his approach in terms of combat, such as being more composed and accurate in beating down groggy opponents.
The 26-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol native boxer is eyeing no less than a knockout win over Ceja, a former WBC super bantamweight champion, in the hopes of getting a title shot soon.
Ceja, 28, for his part, felt the same way and also vowed to knock out the Filipino boxer by being more “stronger” and “physical” in approach.
But Magsayo has a response for that and said, “Let’s see what he does. And I’m gonna do my best. It’s gonna be a brawl fight. Watch that.”
Magsayo remained undefeated in 22 matches on top of 15 knockouts after beating American Pablo Cruz via technical knockout.
His first win under the MP Promotions was at the expense of Rigoberto Hermosillo, also of the United States, in October 2020.
Ceja, meanwhile, settled for a draw against Brandon Figueroa in November 2019 to mark 32 wins with 28 knockouts, four losses, and his first draw since his professional debut in 2009.