world boxing

Mark Magsayo yields WBC belt, leaves PH with no world champion

Delfin Dioquino, Roy Luarca

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Mark Magsayo yields WBC belt, leaves PH with no world champion

TOUGH BREAK. Mark Magsayo falters in his second title defense for his WBC featherweight belt.

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Filipino Mark Magsayo suffers the first loss of his professional career as he surrenders his WBC featherweight belt to Mexican Rey Vargas

MANILA, Philippines – Just like that, the Philippines has no current world boxing champion.

Mark Magsayo surrendered his WBC featherweight belt after a split decision loss to Mexican Rey Vargas at the Alamodome in San Antonio, USA on Saturday, July 9 (Sunday, July 10, Manila time).

The Filipino scored a knockdown in the ninth round but fell short in his title defense as Magsayo suffered the first loss of his professional career.

Vargas earned the nod of two judges with identical scores of 115-112, while the other scored it 114-113 in favor of Magsayo.

Magsayo – who fell to 24-1 (16 knockouts) – joined the likes of Nonito Donaire, Jerwin Ancajas, and Rene Mark Cuarto as they all lost their world championships this year.

Donaire yielded his WBC bantamweight throne in a unification bout against Japanese Naoya Inoue in June, while Ancajas dropped his IBF super flyweight crown to Argentine Fernando Martinez in February.

Cuarto failed to defend his IBF minimumweight belt against Mexican Daniel Valladares earlier this July.

Another former Filipino champion, Johnriel Casimero, got stripped of his WBO bantamweight title for violating weight cut guidelines.

“I am young and still have a lot to learn,” said Magsayo, who thanked his team and fans on social media after the bout.

“I will come back stronger and better. Will work on my mistakes.”

Sneaking in a right straight, Magsayo knocked down the towering Vargas in the ninth round, but the Mexican was able to fend off the Filipino’s wild assault and survived the round.

Magsayo took the first round, but Vargas, exploiting his 4 1/2-inch height and 3-inch reach advantage, dictated the tempo from the second to the seventh round with his jabs and counter uppercuts.

In the eighth, Magsayo finally broke through Vargas’ defenses with two hard rights that staggered the Mexican.

Although Magsayo took control in the 10th and the 12th and last round, it wasn’t enough to overcome the points Vargas piled up in the middle rounds.

The punch stats concurred with the decision as Vargas threw more punches (687-451) and landed more (196-132).

The 31-year-old Vargas, the former WBC 122-pound king, also connected with more body punches, 45-13.

Although Vargas, who sustained a cut over his left eye in the seventh round, kept Magsayo at a distance with his jabs, the Filipino turned out to be more accurate, 20-18 percent.

Admitting Vargas was the better fighter on Saturday, Magsayo, fighting out of MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions, vowed he would bounce back. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.