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Behind every successful man


PhilBoxing.com



Mark Magsayo (R) with wife Frances (L).

March 31 marked the end of the National Women’s Month Celebration this year and we toast this Philippine Commission on Women initiative by paying tribute to the woman behind WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo’s ascent to the throne.

Magsayo recently admitted he couldn’t have won the world crown without his wife Frances. He described his career as a “roller coaster” ride when despite being undefeated, there were issues that previously blocked his way to the top. Managerial and promotional difficulties led to his inactivity in 2018 and for over 16 months, Magsayo lingered in limbo without a fight. That was when he seriously thought of quitting the ring. And it was Frances who set him straight.

While Magsayo teetered on the brink of a premature retirement, Frances worked tirelessly to put bread on the table. She’s an accomplished tattoo artist and on a good day, she could earn as much as P100,000. One of her clients, basketball star Chris Newsome, became the Magsayos’ close friend. When Frances had a studio in Greenhills, Newsome would drop by, check out her work and got his own tattoos done. That was when Newsome was still playing for Ateneo. During the Magsayos’ recent three-week visit to the country from training camp in LA, the world champion was invited by Newsome to shoot baskets at the Meralco gym and watched Game 1 of the Bolts’ PBA Governors Cup semifinal series against Magnolia at the MOA Arena.

“Sabi ni Frances, sayang ang talent ko kung ‘di na ako mag-boksing,” Magsayo said. “Tinapon niya mga gloves at mitts ko sa galit pero pinulot ko lahat. World-rated at undefeated ako kaya bakit ako titigil?” Magsayo listened to his wife’s advice. To get Magsayo back on track, Frances used her own money and partnered with Malaysia-based promoter Vikram Sivapragasam in promoting a boxing card in Tagbilaran.

When the pandemic struck, Frances shut down her tattoo studio and focused on Magsayo’s training. Then came the break of MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons bringing them both to the US in July 2020. After two wins, Magsayo was lined up to face former world champion Julio Ceja in the Pacquiao-Ugas undercard in Las Vegas last year. Magsayo said Gibbons could’ve picked a patsy opponent but he wanted to test himself against Ceja. The fight was a barnburner. Ceja was floored in the first round, Magsayo was decked in the fifth and the Mexican was knocked out cold in the 10th. That set up Magsayo’s fight against WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell in New Jersey early this year.

“Sa kinita ko kay Ceja, nagtayo ako ng bakery sa Tagbilaran at bumili ako ng bangka para sa Papa ko,” said Magsayo. “Kay Russell, nakabili ako ng bahay para sa Mama and Papa ko tapos dinala ko ang bakery, Judy’s Bakeshop, sa bahay kaya madali na makagawa ng tinapay. ‘Di ito nangyari kung wala si Frances. Siya ang manager ko, taga-negotiate ng laban, kausap niya matataas na tao, mga promoter at abogado kaya focus lang ako sa training at laban. Wala ako kung wala si Frances.”


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


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