Ceja to Magsayo: We'll meet again as friends

Published August 27, 2021, 6:16 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Mark Magsayo continues to follow the footsteps of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao not only inside but also outside of the boxing ring.

Mark Magsayo (left) of the Philippines fights against Julio Ceja of Mexico during the WBA Featherweight Title Eliminator boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21, 2021. (AFP)

Magsayo showed sportsmanship and recently revealed via live session that he and Mexican opponent Julio Ceja have become friends after their WBC featherweight title eliminator at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada over the weekend.

Magsayo said he talked to Ceja via phone call to send his regards after being knocked out cold in the 10th round with a vicious right hand.

“Naawa nga ako doon. Buti natawagan ko tapos sabi ni Ceja. ‘Okay na ako. Nakalabas na ako [ng ospital].’ Sabi niya, ‘Salamat at tumawag ka. Kinumusta mo ako. Isa kang tunay na warrior at mabait na boksingero. May kaibigan na akong Filipino fighter (I was worried. It’s a good thing that I called him and asked how he’s doing. He said he’s already out of the hospital and doing fine. He also thanked me and said I’m a real warrior and finally, he now has a Filipino friend),” recalled the 26-year-old Magsayo.

Magsayo showed the same demeanor as his mentor Pacquiao, who is also known for being pals with his former rivals, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, and Keith Thurman.

Prior to Pacquiao’s match against Yordenis Ugas, the Filipino fighting senator was visited by Cotto at the Wild Card Gym, Thurman sent his best wishes to the eight-division world boxing champion during press conferences, and Marquez was inspired by the Filipino icon to run for Mexican Congress.

Aside from Magsayo though, Ceja has fought Filipino boxers like Ranel Suco and Lionel Mark Duran in 2014.

And now, the former Mexican champion has found a new friend in the Tagbilaran, Bohol native pugilist.

“‘Magkikita tayo sa labas ng ring bilang magkaibigan, hindi magkaaway.’ Sabi sa akin. Mabait ‘yon si Ceja. Kaya thankful ako na okay siya, safe na siya (He said we’ll meet again outside of the ring as friends. Ceja is a good person. I’m thankful that he’s fine),” added Magsayo, who remained unscathed in 23 matches on top of 16 knockouts.