Bright lights. Big stage. Sin City.
And a centerpiece to opening the show to your boyhood idol.
All of these elements were in play for 🇵🇭Mark Magsayo Saturday night as all eyes were on him in the second fight of the main card of his idol and mentor Manny Pacquiao.
The 26 year old Filipino took on Mexican veteran 🇲🇽Julio Ceja, 28, in a WBC featherweight eliminator, the winner moving to the front of the line to face current champion Gary Russell Jr.
Magsayo came out fast and delivered a swift, crisp left hook the put Ceja down in the first round. The shot had Ceja on shaky ground as he slowly rose from the canvas appeared to still be a bit foggy.
Magsayo would turn up the heat and try to get Ceja out of there but Ceja would gain his bearings and use his experience to navigate his way through the rest of the opening stanza.
Magsayo would continue boxing well and took the second round looking fast, sharp and strong, but in the third round you could see Ceja start dictating the terms of action, specifically by way of thudding body work.
It was clear that Ceja’s trainer Ismael Salas wanted him to focus on breaking down Magsayo via the body because he kept pressing forward delivering liver shots that eventually put Magsayo down in the fifth amd ending the round with a 19 to 4 body shot advantage.
Advantage Ceja over the course of the next few rounds, as he had Magsayo on fumes from the work downstairs.
But things can change quick in boxing.
Huge comeback win for Magsayo on the biggest night of his career and it turns out he needed the knockout as he was down on all three judges card with scores of 87-82, and 86-83 twice.
As a matter of fact things changed in a flash. In the 10th round Magsayo found a second win and delivered a right hand that looked to put Ceja out on contact, but Magsayo’s follow up right also landed as Ceja (32-5-1, 28KO) was going to the canvas for the second time, this time icing him flat on his back and referee Kenny Bayless waved the bout off giving Magsayo the knockout victory.
Magsayo (23-0-0, 16KO) showed and proved Saturday night but things only get tougher for him now. As mentioned before he will now be at the front of the line to face WBC Featherweight champion 🇺🇸Gary Russell Jr.