By Rene Bonsubre Jr – Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo turned pro in 2013 with high expectations. He was a sought after amateur prospect, a teen phenom who won four national amateur titles in the Philippines.
He did not disappoint with his all-action style. Even as a sophomore pro, he was mentioned as one of the possible successors of the legendary Manny Pacquiao. He began winning regional belts and climbed up the world rankings.
His biggest win on local shores was in 2016, a memorable shootout against American Chris Avalos, a former world title challenger. Magsayo rose from the canvas to stop Avalos in six rounds on the undercard of Nonito Donaire’s title defense against Hungarian Zsolt Bedak. This card drew the biggest live crowd in the history of Cebu City with estimates exceeding 30,000.
Magsayo was the WBO number one featherweight contender in 2017 and local fight pundits thought he was a couple of fights away from a world title shot.
But then came what was his well-publicized split with ALA Promotions which led to his inactivity for the whole of 2018. Magsayo signed with a Malaysian manager and NOW Boxing Promotions and came back in 2019, scoring wins against Indonesian Erik Deztroyer in Singapore and Thai former WBO world bantamweight champ Panya Uthok in Magsayo’s home island of Bohol.
When photos surfaced of Magsayo hitting the mitts with the legendary trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, Filipino boxing fans buzzed with excitement.
“My wife is now handling my business affairs. I am currently choosing the best promoter for me.” Magsayo told this writer in a short interview, “My wife was the one who contacted Coach Freddie Roach, I was very surprised.”
Magsayo is still star struck even he has trained at the Wild Card Gym in previous years. “Very surreal for me until now I can’t believe it. It is one of my dreams to be trained by a legend.”
“I am learning a lot of things now, realizing my mistakes in the ring and Coach Freddie is correcting all of them. I am like a kid who is going to school again which is great for me. I am not perfect and I have wanted to learn from someone like this. It is my goal to be better all the time to be a champion, and I am on the right track now with Coach Freddie as my head trainer.”
Magsayo is not dwelling on the fact that he lost more than a year of his career, “I am only 24 years old,” He said. “I did want to fight Oscar Valdez but he moved up.”
He is now 20-0, 14KO’s and currently ranked number six by the WBC. He is thinking of a future fight against Gary Russell or any of the world titleholders at 126 lbs. “I am also ranked number 15 by the IBF and number 11 by the WBA, I want to fight any champion, I want to win a world title.”