Mark Magasayo has power. Hard. Simply ask Julio Ceja. The tough boxer met the emerging Filipino star on the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas undercard in Las Vegas in August of last year. Although Ugas’ surprise victory against the renowned PacMan will be remembered most, a straight right from Magasayo should linger in the minds of anyone who witnessed it land on poor Ceja’s face in the 10th round of their respective matches. With his opponent on the ropes, Magasayo unleashed a classic overhand rocket that caught Ceja off guard. A few seconds later, Ceja was spotted resting on his back, eyes closed, awareness gone.
That is the type of moment that fight fans remember. A brilliant display of ring generalship is amazing, but a devastating and well-placed fight-ending howitzer has a strong way of drawing attention to itself – and particularly the fighter who delivers it. So, on the eve of his WBC featherweight championship defense against Rey Vargas this Saturday, the 24 to 0 Magasayo finds himself in the focus of attention once more. Not that 35 to 0 Vargas isn’t deserving of notice.
Vargas is nearly four inches taller than Magasayo. He also understands how to make the most of his height. It’s the traditional scenario in which a shorter, more aggressive fighter tries to take on a taller opponent. Vargas also has a lengthy career, which means he’ll be bringing a wealth of knowledge into the ring against the reigning champion. Magasayo, on the other hand, has some solid experience, having defeated the incredibly skilled Gary Russell Jr back in January. In other words, the man is comfortable with a variety of approaches, which might come in handy when he faces Vargas on Saturday night at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
As if battling a fellow unbeaten opponent in a big event that will be shown live on Showtime wasn’t enough, Magasayo will also be compared to fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao everywhere he goes. Indeed, the 27-year-old is viewed as the successor to Pacquiao’s claim to be the top fighter in the Philippines. Of course, Magasayo is taking such expectations graciously, but it’s a lot of extra weight for the man to carry around, especially as he prepares for a title battle against someone as powerful as Vargas.
Amateur career of Magasayo
Magsayo began boxing at the age of eight, and by the time he went professional, he had competed in over 200 amateur matches and was a four-time amateur boxing champion in the annual Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) national competitions. He won the title of “Best Boxer” thrice in the four competitions.
About Rey Vargas
From 2017 through 2020, Mexican professional boxer Rey Geovani Vargas Roldán held the WBC super-bantamweight belt. Vargas won seven amateur national titles in Mexico, as well as a gold medal in the 2009 Panamerican Championships. He competed in the 2009 World Championships but was beaten in the first round by Luke Campbell.