Manny Pacquiao has a new world champion in protégé Mark Magsayo

Mark Magsayo WBC champ

Amanda Westcott

Manny Pacquiao celebrated a new world champion in his promotional ranks as protégé Mark Magsayo completed a dream upset on US soil.

Tipped by WBN to win beforehand at odds of +300, Magsayo followed through in a fantastic achievement for Manny Pacquiao Promotions.

Unbeaten Magsayo defeated longtime champion Gary Russell Jr. by majority decision Saturday night.

In the process, he captured the largely-dormant WBC Featherweight World Championship in the SHOWTIME main event from Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ.

The event took place as a Premier Boxing Champions event that was brimming with action from the telecast opener to its conclusion.

Gary Russell Jr Mark Magsayo
Amanda Westcott

A protégé of Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) was able to end the reign of boxing’s longest male world champion by defeating Russell (31-2, 18 KOs) across 12 hard-fought rounds.

Magsayo used his size advantage to lean on Russell throughout the fight. He benefited from an apparent injury to Russell’s right shoulder that became discernable in round four.

The Freddie Roach-trained Magsayo was able to land 41% of his power shots in the contest. It’s a significant improvement from the 28% clip that Russell’s previous eight opponents had connected on, according to CompuBox.

Russell was limited to just 64 jabs thrown and was out-landed 150 to 69.

Magsayo continued to put the pressure on in the later rounds. He rode that activity to victory, including an attack that nearly dropped Russell late in round ten, thrilling the Filipino fans in attendance.

At the end of the 12 rounds, Magsayo edged out the decision on the judges’ cards with a 114-114 score overruled by two judges seeing it 115-113 for Magsayo.

After the fight, Russell indicated that he believed he still won the war. Magsayo then left open the possibility of a rematch.

MAGSAYO

“This is my dream come true,” said Magsayo. “Ever since I was a kid, this was my dream. I’m so proud that I’m a champion now.

“Thank you so much to the Filipino fans for the support.”

On whether he’d give Russell a rematch after the ex-ruler cited a shoulder injury for his loss, Magsayo added: “It’s up to my promotional team. But I’m willing to fight anybody. I’m the champion now!”

“I knew that he got hurt in round four,” said Magsayo. “I took advantage of it because he was only using one hand. This fight was my opportunity to follow through.

“My coach was telling me to use good combinations and follow through. He said this is your chance to become a champion. Now I am a champion.”

Manny Pacquiao Mark Magsayo

MANNY PACQUIAO

Lauding his new stateside star, Pacquiao said: “Congratulations, Mark Magsayo, on your first world championship!

“Thank you for bringing honor to our country by becoming the latest Filipino world boxing champion. Welcome to the club.”

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