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Magsayo redirects career with Manny


PhilBoxing.com




Sen. Manny Pacquiao with Mark Magsayo and MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons.
Hard-hitting featherweight Mark Magsayo has put his boxing career back on track after several contractual disputes with previous managers and is heading for Los Angeles soon to begin training at the Wild Card Gym under Freddie Roach in a bid to jumpstart his campaign for a world title.

Magsayo, 24, recently became a free agent and signed a contract with MP Promotions. He was in Los Angeles for a week early this year to meet with Roach. “Coach Freddie will make me a world champion,” said Magsayo. “What he did for Senator (Manny Pacquiao), I hope he will do for me. I’m excited to learn from coach Freddie. I know I still have a lot to improve. Sobrang wild at gigil ako dati. All I wanted to do was to slug it out. With coach Freddie, I want to be better in defense. I want to jab more and set up my opponents. I want to fight with speed. If I’m able to combine speed with power, I can fight like Senator.”

Magsayo said he’s been running up and down the hills near San Mateo Timberland to fortify his stamina. Last August, he went 12 rounds in defeating Thailand’s Panya Uthok in Tagbilaran City, his hometown, to raise his record to 20-0, with 14 KOs. It was his third win on points over 12 rounds. “Hindi ako lumaban ng 2018 at ang layoff ko 1 1/2 years kaya challenge kong tumagal ng 12 rounds,” he said. “Importante ang stamina. Sa L. A., tatakbo ako sa Griffith Park kagaya ni Senator to build up ang stamina ko.”

Magsayo was introduced to Roach when he was still with the ALA stable in 2016. That was the year when Magsayo passed a severe test by surviving a third round knockdown to stop one-time world title challenger Chris Avalos in six in Cebu City. Magsayo said Avalos and Japan’s Shota Hayashi were his toughest opponents so far. “Si Avalos, may power at experience but mahina ang panga kaya doon ko siya nadali,” he said. “Si Shota, walang power but matibay at matiisin.” Magsayo beat Hayashi on a unanimous 12-round decision in Tagbilaran City in 2017.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said he’s arranging two fights for Magsayo in the US and depending on his performance, the fighter could be in line for a world title crack sooner than later. The first bout is tentatively set on May 16. Magsayo is ranked No. 4 by the IBF whose champion is unbeaten Englishman Josh Warrington and No. 5 by the WBC whose titleholder is American Gary Russell, Jr. Magsayo said he’ll fight either Warrington or Russell, whoever is available.

Magsayo said when he signed a promotional contract with Pacquiao, it was like redirecting his career. “Sabi ni Senator, he’ll include me sa undercard ng next laban niya,” he said. “Mag-train daw akong mabuti at stay focused. Nagpapasalamat ako kay Senator sa kaniyang tiwala at gagawin ko ang lahat upang patunayan na kaya kong maging world champion.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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