MARK Magsayo finally gets the biggest break of his boxing career.
The unbeaten Filipino featherweight earned a shot at the WBC featherweight title of Gary Russell Jr. as the mandatory challenger in their January 22 fight next year.
Mark Magsayo vs Gary Russell Jr.
MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons confirmed the bout on Thursday, which serves as Magsayo’s first attempt at a world crown.
Magsayo, 26 and holder of a perfect 23-0 record (16 KOs), positioned himself as the top contender for the 126-pound title Russel owned since 2015 following his fearless 10th round knockout of Mexican Julio Ceja in the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas welterweight title match last August.
The Filipino rose from a fifth-round knockdown to stop Ceja five rounds later with a solid right that shut the lights out of the game Mexican.
Magsayo has been based in Los Angeles since last year and actively fought three times despite the pandemic.
The same can’t be said of the 33-year-old Russell who has not climbed the ring since February of 2020 when he scored a unanimous decision against Tugstsoqt Nyambayar of Mongolia.
The fight was the fifth title defense of the Washington-born American, who won the WBC crown six years ago with a fourth round TKO of Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez in Las Vegas.
A southpaw, Russell holds a record of 31-1 with 18 KOs. The only loss of his career was a majority decision against Vasiliy Lomachenko for the vacant WBO featherweight championship at the StubHub Center in Carson, California in 2014.