For sure, boxing is a very huge sport in the Philippines, especially when the likes of Manny Pacquiao managed to bring prestige and basically put the country on the map in the world of boxing.
And like many viewers that are impressed, some also managed to take that inspiration and make a name for themselves. That would be the case for this one young lad from Leyte: the rising boxing star Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo.
Born in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Magsayo had an interest with boxing as early as the age of 8. Truly inspired by Pacman himself, Magsayo admitted that the Filipino boxing legend is indeed the reason that he got into the sport.
“Manny Pacquiao is my idol, ever since I was a kid. I started training at eight-years-old because of him to one day become world champion. Now that time is here,” said Magsayo, now 26.
Training with ALA group, the popular boxing company based in the Philippines, Magsayo would then hone his boxing skills.
By the time he had turned pro, he had fought in around 200 amateur contests and was 4-time amateur boxing champion at the annual Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) national tournaments, winning the title “Best Boxer” twice.
Magsayo made his professional debut by fighting against Melton Sandal on May 25, 2013 where he knocked his opponent in just the first round. Magsayo would then go on to win more fights, mostly by knockout decisions and never lost one fight.
Just recently, Magsayo managed to end the seven-year title reign of Gary Russell of USA, and earning the new WBC featherweight champion title. The fight took place last January 22, 2022 in Borgata in Atlantic, New Jersey. The championship title is Magsayo’s first ever world title by majority decision.
“I’m taller than him (Russell). I’m stronger than him. We have the same speed, but no matter what happens, I will give my best in the ring because I know that if I win this fight, it will change my life. Pacquiao told me to come and give everything in the ring to take the belt home.” (Villaruel, 2022)Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo
With already 24 wins under his name, it seems that Magsayo is not yet ready to stop. Out of the 24 wins under his belt, 16 are of knockouts which is pretty impressive. Experts and analysts that Magsayo has still a lot of fight in him, considering that he is still merely 26 years of age.