Magsayo to Vargas: Do not run

Published July 8, 2022, 5:27 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Expect fireworks and a fierce slugfest when Filipino champion Mark Magsayo defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight belt against Mexican foe and top contender Rey Vargas on Saturday, July 9, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas (Sunday in Manila).

WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo and top contender Rey Vargas (SHOWTIME Boxing)

But Magsayo was quick to give Vargas an early warning ahead of their title bout: Do not run away from me.

“I want to prove to the people, because of my last fight, my opponent (Gary Russell Jr.) ran too much. So I hope Rey Vargas does not run too much so we cna give a good fight to the people,” said Magsayo in the final press conference.

Magsayo made the comments first as stated in an article on, saying that if Vargas “doesn’t run too much” then there’s going to be a knockout.

The Mexican challenger is more than happy to oblige though and saw a silver lining along those remarks made by the reigning WBC champion.

“Look if you wanna exchange blows with me, I’m more than happy to do it,” said Vargas with the help of a translator. “And I see it is a compliment to myself. The fact that you have a lot of people from your team in the Philippines because it means you are taking me seriously.

“That you don’t think I’m just another opponent. I think that’s an advantage to me. It means you’re worried,” added the 31-year-old Vargas, who remained unbeaten in 35 matches on top of 22 knockouts.

Magsayo, still flashing a good smile in front of the press, isn’t worried — not even the slightest.

After all, the 27-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol native boxer is the world champion also holding a perfect record of 24 wins built on 16 KOs.

Though this marks his first world title defense, Magsayo is fresh from winning the WBC title against Russell six months ago, last January 2022, via majority decision.

Before taking a crack at the belt, Magsayo, the protege of eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, won Premier Boxing Champion’s Knockout of the Year Award with a spectacular 10th round KO against Julio Ceja of Mexico.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“I beat the best in my division. So my confidence is high. You never fought a guy like me,” said Magsayo.