Unbeaten Filipino Mark Magsayo pulled off a shocker in the featherweight division, when he unseated longtime titleholder Gary Russell Jr. by way of a twelve round majority decision to capture the WBC featherweight world championship.
The contest headlined a Showtime televised main event from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.
After twelve rounds, one judge had it scored 114-114, while the remaining two had it 115-113 for Magsayo.
“This is my dream come true,” said Magsayo. “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.”
Russell held the distinction of being boxer's longest reigning world champion.
Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) noticed during the fight that Russell (31-2, 18 KOs) injured his right shoulder, which made him a one-armed fighter for the remainder of the contest. Russell, from a defensive standpoint, gave Magsayo fits throughout the fight.
“I knew that he was hurt in round four,” said Magsayo. “I took advantage of it because he was only using one hand. This was my opportunity to follow through. My coach was telling me to use good combinations and follow through. He said this is your chance to become a champion and now I am a champion.”
After the fight, Russell indicated that he believed he still won the fight, while Magsayo left open the possibility of a rematch.
Because Magsayo was a mandatory challenger, there was no rematch clause. He can choose to fight Russell again or go forward in another direction.
“It’s up to my promotional team,” said Magsayo when asked about a potential rematch. “But I’m willing to fight anybody. I’m the champion now!”