By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
A couple of weeks ago, Filipino boxing fans on social media were buzzing with excitement when photos surfaced of world ranked featherweight Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo hitting the mitts with the legendary trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym.
Magsayo had a short chat with this writer about this interesting development in his career.
“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 Roach, I was very surprised.”
Magsayo is still undefeated. But he is still star struck even when he has visited 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 been wanting 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 turning pro in 2013 was covered in the local papers. 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 the next Manny Pacquiao. He began winning regional belts and climbed up the world rankings.
His biggest win on local shores was in 2016, a scintillating 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 contender in 2017 and a title shot was already within reach. But then came 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 champ Panya Uthok in Magsayo’s home island of Bohol.
Magsayo (20-0,14KO’s) told this writer that he has been in the U.S. since January 22. He is not dwelling on the fact that he lost one year of his career, “I am only 24 years old,” He said. “I wanted to fight Oscar Valdez but he moved up.”
He is 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 now number 15 by the IBF and number 11 by the WBA, I want to fight any champion, I want to win a world title.”
Photo- Mark Magsayo
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Froilan Saludar (31-3,22KO’s) will return to Japan to defend his WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight title against Japanese Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4,11KO’s) on February 14. Saludar won the vacant title last September by eighth round TKO against another Japanese, Tsubasa Murachi at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. His defense against Fukunaga will be at the same venue.
Trainer Jojo Palacios told this writer in a short chat that Saludar is now at 90 percent in terms of reaching his peak form for the bout.
“He is now at 118 lbs, so there will be no problem making 115 lbs for the fight,” Palacios stated, “He went through 120 rounds in sparring against Aston Palicte,Raymond Tabugon, Jayson Mama, Glen Porras and Dave Apolinario.”
Team Saludar will leave for Manila on February 10 then fly to Japan the next day.
“If he was in this kind of shape in the Kimura fight, he would have won the world title.” Palacios declared.
During the early part of his career, the 30 year old Saludar was considered one of the bright prospects here in the Philippines. But, he came up short in big fights: In 2014, he was stopped in two rounds by Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo in an IBF title eliminator and in 2018, he was stopped in six rounds by then WBO world flyweight champ Sho Kimura of Japan.
The win against Murachi gave Saludar’s career a new lease on life. Murachi entered the fight a 4-0,3KO’s record and figured to make Saludar a stepping stone to fast track his career. But Saludar had other plans.
It would be interesting to see if Saludar can make the most of this career rejuvenation. His brother, Vic Saludar already won and lost the WBO world mini-flyweight title and is also on the comeback trail.
Fukunaga is a southpaw who has gone 1W-2L in his last three fights. He lost in his first attempt a regional belt,the OPBF Silver super flyweight title, by unanimous decision in Thailand to Jakkrawut Majoogoen.
Photo - Froilan Saludar
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Pedro Taduran remains the IBF world minimumweight champion after a four round technical draw against Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares. This was the southpaw Taduran’s first defense and he had to do it on the road at the Jardin Cerveza Expo in Guadalupe,Mexico.
Both boxers came out firing right from the opening bell. But in what is a common unfortunate mishap in southpaw vs orthodox match-ups, an accidental clash of heads happened in the last minute of round one.
Valladares sustained an ugly cut above his right eye. The ring doctor allowed the fight to continue and it did not slow down the action. Both continued to trade hard shots.
In the second, Valladares went head-hunting while Taduran targeted the body. The action remained fast and sustained at close quarters. Taduran pressed the action in the third and the heavy exchanges continued in the fourth. Both boxers were showered the Mexican’s blood and the ring physician was called once again. He told the referee he will let the fight go but when the fourth round ended, the fight was finally called to a halt.
The scores were 39-37 Valladares, and two judges had it 38-38.This allowed Taduran, from Albay in the Philippines, to retain his title.
This was a close fight fougth on even terms but Taduran’s manager, Art Monis, told this writer after the bout that if the fight was not stopped, he was confident that Taduran would have knocked Valladares out in the fifth.
Taduran is now 14-2-1,11KO’s while Valladares is 22-1-1,13KO’s.
Taduran won the vacant IBF world minimumweight title against countryman Samuel Salva last September in Taguig City. Salva knocked down Taduran in the first but a fiery attack from Taduran made Salva fade and capitulate before the bell for the fifth round.
There will be two more Filipinos who will be fighting for world titles this month. On the distaff side, on February 8, Carleans Rivas (8-6-2,0KO) will challenge IBF Female world minimumweight champion Yokasta Valle (19-2,8KO’s) of Costa Rica in the champion’s home turf.
Rivas is well-travelled but has lost in Japan to the likes of Tamao Ozawa,Chaoz Minowa, Tenkai Tsunami and Yumemi Ikemoto. Valle will be making the first defense of her belt that she won from Spain’s Joana Pastrana. Valle had previously lost in her attempts to win world title belts with the WBC and WBO.
Then on February 22, Jeo Santisima (19-2,16KO’s) will face his most accomplished foe in the person of Mexican Emanuel Navarrete (30-1,26KO’s) the WBO world junior featherweight champion.
Navarrete burst upon the scene when he dethroned Isaac Dogboe of Ghana by unanimous decision in New York. In their rematch, he stopped Dogboe in the twelfth in Tucson. He would defend three more times which included a 4th round TKO win over Filipino Juan Miguel Elorde in Las Vegas.
One of Santisima’s best career wins was a sixth round stoppage of Marco Demecillo in Cebu City. This was when Demecillo was still considered by local pundits as a dangerous puncher. In 2018, Santisima beat Mexican Uriel Lopez by unanimous decision in Cebu City for the WBO Oriental junior featherweight title. He is currently ranked number 4 by the WBO.
Santisima, who fights out of the ALA Gym of Cebu, has not lost since 2014 but will be fighting overseas for the first time. This will be on the undercard of a huge card, the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in Las Vegas.
Photo – Pedro Taduran
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.