Fit as a fiddle.
This is how boxing champion Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo described himself less than a month before his much-awaited title fight against veteran Panya Uthok of Thailand at the “Pride of Bohol” boxing promotion at the Bohol Wisdom gymnasium in Tagbilaran, Bohol on Aug. 31.
Buoyed by his sensational fourth-round knockout victory in his most recent fight last April, Magsayo expressed confidence that he will beat his Thai opponent in his homecoming fight for the vacant WBC Asia and IBF Pan-Pacific featherweight titles.
“Handang-handa na ako laban na ito. Pipilitin ko talagang manalo para sa mga kababayan ko sa Bohol,” said Magsayo during his appearance in the 34rd “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros.
“I’m really happy to be given the chance to fight again infront of my townmates, kaya talagang puspusan ang paghahandang ginagawa ko,” added the 24-year-old Magsayo, who holds an impressive ring record of 19 wins, with 14 scored by knockout.
It will be the second time in three years that Magsayo will fight before his townmates since beating Shota Hayashi of Japan by unanimous decision to retain the WBO International featherweight belt in Tagbilaran, Bohol last November 2017.
Asked about his homecoming fight, Magsayo said he is now more relaxed and confident. “Nung unang laban ko sa Bohol, medyo tense at excited. Ngayon mas handa na,” he explained.
A misunderstanding with his erstwhile manager, ALA Promotions, forced Magsayo to a two-year-long break before he returned to the ring to knock out Erick Deztroyer of Indonesia in Singapore only last April.
“Everything is okay now. Sila talaga ang nag-alaga ng husto kay Mark pero tapos na yun kontrata at hindi na na-renew. Nagpa-alam naman sa kanila (ALA Promotions) si Mark. And now he’s fighting under Vladimir Boxing Promotions,” said Magsayo’s wife-manager Frances.
The husband and wife tandem now hopes a convincing victory over Uthok (53-6 win-loss with 35 KOs) will line him up for a crack at the elusive world title. “We will have another fight for him (Magsayo). Then maybe he’ll be ready for a title fight early next year,” added Frances.
Magsayo’s coach, Rissan Muelas, said the Filipino boxer will be a good match to the Thai veteran.
“He (Magsayo) has the speed, the timing and the stamina to handle Uthok. The Thai likes to get inside and mix it up, so we’re now working on Mark’s stamina to enable him to stay alert for 12 full rounds,” added Muelas.
Also present during the weekly forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, PAGCOR, Community Basketball Association and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks and shown on Facebook live via Glitter Livestream is Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Boxing and Other Contact Sports officer-in charge Jackie Lou Cacho.