Gary Russell Jr. vs Mark Magsayo Preview Jan. 22nd, 2022
Gary Russell Jr of Washington DC defends his WBC Featherweight Title for the sixth time this Saturday, January 22nd when he takes on unbeaten Mark Magsayo of the Philippines. The 12-round contest can be seen live in the USA on Showtime from the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey while fans in Canada can catch the action on TSN 2. Russell last fought in February of 2020 when he beat Tugstsogt Nyambayar by unanimous decision while Magsayar last fought in August when he got up from the canvas in round five to stop Julio Ceja in the 10th round of a thriller. Magsayo had dropped Ceja in the first round but was trailing on all three scorecards 86-83, 86-83 and 87-82 when the fight was stopped.
Russell Jr. vs Magsayo Betting Odds
- Mark Magsayo +375
- Gary Russell Jr. -550
As usual, the 33-year-old Russell has been relatively inactive lately with just one fight a year from 2015 to 2020 and he didn’t box at all in 2021. Still, the southpaw will climb into the ring with a fine record of 31-1 with 18 Kos. His lone loss came at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko in a title shot via a majority decision in June, 2014. Russell is well known for his power, speed, and combination punching and enters the bout with a knockout ratio of 56.3 per cent. He stands just over 5-feet-4-inches tall with a 64-inch reach. He turned pro back in 2009 and has boxed 160 rounds since then.
Russell’s toughest pro tests so far have been against Nyambayar, Joseph Diaz, Lomachenko, Jhonny Gonzalez, Mauricio Pastrana, Kiko Martinez and Oscar Escandon in title bouts with the rest of his opponents being relative unknowns. The champion is a tremendous athlete, but the majority of his bouts have been somewhat boring for most fans because he’s been far too superior for his opponents. He’s hoping to one day get a rematch with Lomachenko, but will have to move up in weight to do so and of course needs to get past Magsayar on Saturday night.
Russell enjoyed a fine amateur career with a reported record of 163-10. He started boxing as a seven year old and four of his brothers are also boxers. In 2004, Russell captured the Junior Olympics and in 2005 won the US and National Golden Gloves titles, making him just one of two boxers to win both before turning 17 years old. He was also named USA Boxing’s Athlete of the Year in 2005 and went on to earn another national crown and a bronze medal in the world championships before qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games. However, Russell withdrew from the Olympics due to dehydration and turned pro in January, 2009.
The 26-year-old Magsayar carries around a perfect mark of 26-0 with 13 Kos. He’s boxed 119 rounds since making his pro debut in 2013 and has a current knockout ratio of 69.6 per cent. Magsayar stands 5-feet-6-inches tall with a wingspan of 68 inches which gives him a 1.5-inch edge in reach on Russell and a four-inch reach advantage. He’s an exciting fighter thanks to his aggressive style and his power with his biggest wins coming over Ceja, Yardley Cruz, Chris Avalos and Pablo Cruz.
He’s been dropped a few times as a pro though, so may not have the best of chins. But that’s also part of what makes Magsayar such a fan-friendly boxer. Since turning pro he’s captured the IBF Youth Featherweight Title in 2015, the WBO Youth Featherweight Title in 2016, the WBO International Featherweight Title in 2016 and the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight Belt. He also had a successful amateur career by earning gold medals at the 2010 Mayor Jonas Cortes Cup, the 2012 Bantamweight (Junior Division) at the PLDT-ABAP National Boxing Championships.
Magsayar is a great prospect with plenty of power, but at this point in his career he’s got a questionable chin and can be outboxed. He can’t be taken lightly by Russell and the champion needs to use his speed, mobility and boxing skills to keep him on the back foot. However, he may have to do some inside work due to Magsayar’s height and reach advantage. Magsayar’s stoppages usually come due to him landing several hard blows rather than a single shot and it’s hard to imagine him being able to catch Russell this way. This should be one of Russell’s stiffer tests, but I’m expecting him to keep his belt in a close fight.
Russell should have his hands full but still retain his title.
Play: Russell Jr. -550 @ BetOnline.ag
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