MARK Magsayo resumes a promising career momentarily stalled as he takes on a former world champion in his ring return by the end of August.
The unbeaten 24-year-old featherweight battles Panya Uthok of Thailand on August 31 at the Bohol Wisdom school gym in Tagbilaran City in only his second fight since returning to active duty at the start of the year.
Uthok, 29, serves as a tough test for Magsayo, having previously held the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crown which he lost to Filipino Marlon Tapales in 2016.
Since that loss to Tapales, the Thai (53-6, 35 KOs) dropped two of his last three matches, but remains a very dangerous opponent against Magsayo.
“Yung style niya fighter talaga, pasok ng pasok. So ang training namin ni coach is for stamina. Kailangan pang-12 rounds yung hangin ko,” said Magsayo during the press launch of the 12-round fight dubbed ‘Pride of Bohol’ held at the Hozwat Sports Bar recently.
Magsayo (19-0, 14 KOs) fought against Erick Deztroyer last April in Singapore, winning by knockout in his first fight in two years after parting ways with long-time promoter, Cebu-based ALA boxing gym.
He’s now being promoted by Vladimir Promotions, an outfit under the partnership of Malaysian Vikram Sivapragasam and the boxer’s wife Frances Magsayo, with TJ Cafuir serving as brand manager.
Mark said it was difficult starting all over again after spending the first five years of his pro career under the tutelage of ALA Promotions.
“Mahirap kasi maraming challenges. So kailangan harapin natin ang mga ito, kaya ngayon pakunti-kunti muna,” he said.
“Nung una lumaban ako last April, tune-up fight, pampatanggal ng kalawang. Ngayon, championship na, excited na ako, Ready na.”
The vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Pan Pacific featherweight title and the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian Boxing Council featherweight belt will be at stake during the fight.
Helping Magsayo settles down a bit is the hometown crowd expected to be there when Tagbilaran’s beloved son returns home in his second fight in the province.
“Nung unang fight ko sa Bohol nakaka-pressure, kasi sa lugar pa namin. Dagdag pressure tsaka may tense. Sa laban hindi ako kinabahan, pero doon sa mga tao,” he recalled of his 2014 bout with Ernesto Fontanilla.
“Pero ngayon hindi na, nasanay na, e. Kaya reading-ready na.”