Unbeaten Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo is ready to wage war in the boxing ring when he faces reigning WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Jan. 22.
Magsayo, who has returned to the Philippines since his debut match in October 2020 as a talent of the MP Promotions, heightened up his training with legendary coach Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California with regular mitt works and sparring sessions.
“Pine-prepare po kami ni coach Freddie na pasukin si Gary Russell kasi ‘yong style niya mabilis ‘yong paa, mabilis ‘yong kamay (Coach Freddie has been preparing me to close in and attack Gary Russell because he has both the speed in footwork and hand movement),” said Magsayo, who is undefeated 23 matches with 16 knockouts, in the recent episode of Playitright TV.
“So pine-prepare namin na sugurin namin siya. ‘Yon ‘yong sabi sakin ni coach Freddie every time na mag-training kami (Coach Freddie has been reminding me of that and we have been preparing for that).”
Magsayo said Roach shifted his focus to enhancing the Filipino’s hand movement, hand speed, and footwork to counter Russel’s agility and booming left.
The Tagbilaran, Bohol native boxer has been sparring with an unnamed southpaw partner introduced by MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons to keep up with Russel’s style as well.
“Pero magaling siya (sparring partner) at parang ginagaya niya ‘yong style ni Gary Russell tuwing sparring kami. Ang dami kong natututunan sa kanya kaya alam kong ready-ng ready ako pag-akyat ko sa laban. Alam kong ready-ng ready ako diyan (He is a good sparring partner. He has the same style with Russell and I’ve learned so much from him that’s why I’m confident that I’m ready to go inside the ring),” added the WBC’s Prospect of the Year awardee.
The 26-year-old Magsayo last saw action against Julio Ceja to which he earned the Premier Boxing Champion’s Knockout of the Year plum by sending the Mexican boxer out cold in the 10th round of their world title eliminator.
Russell, for his part, will return to action since his last win against Tugstsogt Nyambayar of Mongolia in February 2020.
The 33-year-old American champion has 31 wins on top of 18 KOs with one defeat.