Rey Vargas is closing in on a shot at becoming a two-division titlist.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Vargas is in advanced talks with WBC featherweight titlist Mark Magsayo. Once finalized, the fight is expected to land on a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) in July.
Magsayo (24-0, 16KOs) claimed the WBC featherweight crown in an upset twelve-round, majority decision win over long-reigning titlist Gary Russell Jr. (31-2, 18KOs) this past January 22 at Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Showtime-televised main event came with the understanding that the winner would next face Vargas, a former WBC junior featherweight titlist from Otumba, Mexico who moved up in weight and was named mandatory challenger.
Vargas stepped aside to instead take a rust-shaking fight last November, his first since a twelve-round win over Tomoki Kameda in his final WBC junior featherweight title defense in July 2019. The combination of the pandemic and a broken leg injury left Vargas (35-0, 22KOs) out of the ring for nearly 28 months before returning on the undercard of the Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez-Caleb Plant November 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard in Las Vegas.
Magsayo earned his way to the title following a come-from-behind tenth-round knockout of Julio Ceja last August 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Magsayo knocked down Ceja in the opening round but was floored himself in round five and trailed 87-82, 86-83 and 86-83 after nine rounds before knocking out Ceja with a perfect right hand at 0:50 of round ten on the undercard of the Yordenis Ugas-Manny Pacquiao Fox Sports PPV.
Vargas was assured by the WBC of his due title shot mere days after Magsayo’s upset win. The unbeaten former titlist accepted the sanctioning body’s assurance and looked forward to the tough challenge that will now soon arrive.
“Mark Magsayo is a bigger fighter (than Russell), but he’s smarter more so than just (relying on) power,” noted Vargas. “Magsayo is very smart in the ring.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox