By CARLO ANOLIN
It’s all systems go for the WBC featherweight title bout between reigning champion Gary Russell Jr. and unbeaten Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey on January 22 next year.
The Premier Boxing Champions announced the latest development Thursday as Magsayo reposted it on his social media channels.
The match will also be aired live via Showtime Boxing.
Magsayo will be serving as the mandatory challenger against Russell, who has been inactive since defending his belt for the fifth straight time last February 2020.
This also marks Magsayo’s first major world title bout since turning professional in 2009, perhaps considered as the biggest fight of his boxing career.
The Tagbilaran, Bohol native contender earned the rights to the title shot after stunning Mexican foe Julio Ceja in the 10th round of their featherweight match last August.
Not only Magsayo remained undefeated in 23 matches but he also captured the WBO International featherweight title in the process.
Magsayo, 26, has been training non-stop at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California under the tutelage of legendary coach Freddie Roach.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to fight on SHOWTIME for the WBC world title,” said Magsayo, who has 16 knockouts, as quoted by The Ring.
“This is the fight that I want and have been working hard to get for years. I am going to come to win and to make the most of this chance. There is a reason Gary is a champion, just like there is a reason I became the mandatory challenger. This is going to be a great fight for me to show the world what Filipinos are made of. I’ve had a long road to get to this position and I will be fighting in honor of everyone who helped me get here.”
Russell, for his part, holds a 31-1 record on top of 18 KOs.
The 33-year-old American champion, training under the supervision of his father Gary Sr., expressed excitement in facing one of Manny Pacquiao’s proteges, saying that the Filipino boxing legend and now presidential aspirant “pretty sure has a good eye for talent.”
“I’m sure he signed Magsayo for a reason. I know that I’m facing a guy who’s willing to put it all on the line, with everything to gain and nothing to lose,” added Russell.