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In a huge upset, Mark Magsayo captured the WBC featherweight title outpointing long-time champion Gary Russell over 12 rounds at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ, Saturday night. Due to an injury, Russell fought one-handed the last six rounds of the fight.

Scores were 114-114 and 115-113 twice for the new champion.

In the opening stanza, speedy southpaw Russell maneuvered Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) around the ring. He fired jabs. Magsayo went to the body and landed a solid uppercut. He surprised Russell (31-2. 18 KOs) with a combination. A good round for the Filipino challenger.

Russell, a 6-1 favorite, fired to the body in round two. The taller Magsayo bounced and landed another uppercut. Russell, fighting for the first time in two years, ran into another body shot. Magsayo countered Russell landed a solid left.

In round three, Magsayo fired a left hook to the body. Russell scored with a left. Russell’s jab wasn’t landing as much. Magsayo’s speed appeared to be surprising Russell. He landed a right that bothered Russell in round four. The champion grimaced. Magsayo bobbed and weaved and worked downstairs.

Russell landed a straight left in round five. Magsayo stalked. Russell’s right shoulder appeared to be giving him problems. Magsayo clubbed Russell with a left to the liver. He clipped Russell with a one-two in round six. Seconds later, a left uppercut scored. Russell fired a counter left.

Magsayo came out attacking in round seven. Russell wasn’t using his bread butter. The jab. Russell connected with a counter left. Magsayo let fly with a right. Through seven rounds, the fight was very close.

Russell scored with two lefts in round eight. Magsayo landed a right and left. Russell was fighting one-handed. He circled away, scoring with more lefts. The round was his. Russell started fast in round nine.

Magsayo pursued – running into a left. He scored with a right to the chest. Russell fired two lefts.

Magsayo unloaded shots to the midsection.

Russell moved to his left and right in round 10. Magsayo landed a right. Russell tagged Magsayo with a left. Magsayo went to the body in round 11. He was punching more – and scoring. Russell looked tired.

Going into the 12th and final round, Magsayo appeared to have the edge. Russell came out punching. Magsayo scored with a right. He popped Russell with a jab. He whipped hooks to the ribs. Russell fought back with lefts.

“My dream came true,” said Magsayo. “This has been my dream since I was a kid.”

On the undercard, Subriel Matias served up some sweet revenge on Petros Ananyan. Tough guy Anayan beat Matias two years ago. He said he’d do it again. Nope. Matias methodically beat Anayan up, winning the fight by stoppage after round nine. The fight was a war from the opening bell, but Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) was sharper and more accurate. Ananyan (16-3-2, 7 KOs) hung in, absorbing punishment until collapsing in round nine. He got up, but soon after the ring doctor told the referee the fight was over.

Source: John J. Raspanti

www.sports24ghana.com