Magsayo loses WBC belt to Vargas

·2 min read

MARK Magsayo lost his World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight title in his first title defense after a split decision defeat to unbeaten Mexican Rey Vargas on Sunday (PH time) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Despite knocking down Vargas in the ninth round, two of the three judges scored the bout in favor of the unbeaten Mexican fighter. Judges Tim Cheatam and David Sutherland had identical scores of 115-112 in favor of Vargas, while judge Jesse Reyes scored it the other way 114-113.

There was no feel-out round for both fighters as they immediately threw heavy blows in the opening round. Magsayo landed a right straight that caught the former WBC super bantamweight champion’s attention. It was a very competitive first half of the scheduled 12-rounder as both fighters had their moments.

The 27-year-old Magsayo had to lunge himself forward to get through the long reach of Vargas, who had a two-and-a-half reach advantage.

In the ninth round, Magsayo caught Vargas with a counter right straight that dropped him to the canvas. He beat the referee’s count but was still wobbly but held on to survive the round.

Magsayo once again rocked Vargas with a right straight in the 10th round but Vargas kept his composure.

Vargas wisely kept his distance in the 11th round by using his jab and longer reach.

Magsayo landed a left hook in the final round that stunned Vargas momentarily. Vargas, however, clinched and survived up until the final bell.

Magsayo suffered his first career loss and dropped to 24-1 with 16 knockouts. Vargas won his second division world title and remained unbeaten with a record of 36-0 with 22 knockouts.

“No matter what I’ll come back stronger, I’m disappointed but I did my best,” said Magsayo. “I applied the pressure what we trained in the gym, but he was taller and he’s the man today.”

Magsayo had a lot to prove coming into this fight after some questioned the credibility of his majority decision win over an injured Gary Russell Jr. back on Jan. 22 in Atlantic City.

The Philippines is now left with no world champions after Magsayo lost his belt. Earlier this year, the Philippines had four world champions in Magsayo, Nonito Donaire Jr., Johnriel Casimero and Rene Mark Cuarto.

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