Gary Russell Jr went into the ring, his sixth defence of the WBC Featherweight title with one arm against Philippines Mark Magsayo was only defeated with a majority decision in the main event of a Showtime Triple-Header on Saturday night 22nd of January at the Borgata Event Center.
Mark Magsayo was handed a title on the plater of gold as Russell Jr lost his right arm and was forced to fight through 12 rounds with just one arm. The fight was ruled a draw by one Judge, who scored the fight 114-114, while the other two judges scored the fight 115-113, favouring aggression over occasional right hands and defensive prowess.
Magsayo won the fight but will also admit, Russell Jr was able to fight through eight rounds with just one arm and made the fight very competitive during the period. Russell, who is now 33 was fighting for the first time in almost two years and the injury could be due to lack of competitive stress on the arm and seems like a torn tendon from the look of it.
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Russell Jr was handed the second defeat of his career with the loss, his first was a 12 round majority decision loss to Vasily Lomachenko in their WBO featherweight Championship back in 2014. He was the longest serving champion before the loss with a record of (32-2, 18KO) through 13 years of active boxing career.
Before the fight , Russell Jr had made known he had a slight injury in the build up and after the fight claimed, he had the injury two weeks before the fight.
“I hurt the shoulder about two weeks ago,” Russell said. “But I went through with the fight because I’m a true champion and this is what warriors do. I’m going to fight regardless of what the situation is. I refuse to not compete and display my skillsets to my fans and the people that came out to show support and love. Please believe that I will be back. I still want these fights.”
Gary Russell Jr is regarded as one of the most talented fighters in Boxing and somehow somewhere will like to run it again with Magsayo but there wasn’t a rematch clause on his title due to the fact that Magsayo was a mandatory challenger. However, the New Champion expressed a desire to fight Russell Jr again but the 33 year old doesn’t believe, he wants that smoke.
Russell Jr during his reign was criticised for his less frequent appearance in the ring which made the fight with Magsayo only his sixth appearance in the ring since winning the title in 2015. That directly translates to fighting just ones every year.
For Magsayo, the world title win was a dream come through and he thanked all his fans and supporters for their support.
“This is my dream come true,” Magsayo said. “Ever since I was a kid, this was my dream. I’m so proud that I’m a champion now. Thank you so much to the Filipino fans for the support.”
The fight was a show “Out Of This World”. Russell Jr actually made an aggressive Magsayo miss for most of the fight and even knocked him off balance with a left hook in the 10th round. Magsayo would chase the one handed Russell all round the ring but fail to connect his flush punches from the fifth round till the 12th.
Full Fight Photos – Gary Russell Jr Vs Mark Magsayo WBC Featherweight Championship.