SHOWTIME televise championship boxing at Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City this Saturday night, with WBC featherweight champion, Gary Russell Jr defending his title for a sixth time at the head of affairs against Mark Magsayo.
Russell Jr (33-1, 18 KOs) has been a victim of his own inactivity, with several chances to rise up the pound-for-pound rankings missed, as the Maryland resident has only fought once a year since 2015, and his meeting with Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) marks his first fight in nearly two years, which will also be broadcast on FITE TV in the UK.
Since a sole loss to the superlative Vasyl Lomachenko for the WBO belt in 2014, the 33-year-old has won seven straight, and picked up his WBC crown in March 2015, stopping Jhonny Gonzalez in four rounds.
Two successful early defences followed, with stoppage wins over Patrick Hyland and Oscar Escandon, before he outscored Joseph Diaz Jr in May 2018.
Kiko Martinez was halted in five in 2019, and in Russell’s last outing, he took a points win over Tugstsogt Nyambayar in February 2020.
He now faces Magsayo, a big punching Filipino in his first world title tilt. The 26-year-old has won several ranking building titles, but his breakthrough came in his last fight, when he came from behind to knock out former world title challenger Julio Ceja in ten rounds.
Magsayo, who is under the Manny Pacquiao Promotions banner, scored an opening round knockdown, before finding himself on the floor in the fifth, but he was behind on all three cards when notching another knockdown in the tenth, and then finishing the job.
Prediction: Russell Jr really needs to start keeping active, and either unifying or moving up the weights. Magsayo won’t be the type to overly trouble him though, and it’s likely he’ll have to settle for a routine unanimous decision win.
Matias meets Ananyan
A rematch of a 2020 encounter heads the undercard, as super lightweights Subriel Matias and Petros Ananyan lock horns once again, this time over twelve rounds.
Their original meeting was a ten rounder, and Ananyan (16-2-2, 7 KOs) handed Matias (17-1, 17 KOs) his first defeat as a professional with a unanimous decision win, by one point on two cards, and it was a seventh round knockdown in the 33-year-old’s favour that secured him the fight.
Matias has rebounded with two straight victories, while his rival has fought once since the original meeting, overcoming Daniel Gonzalez via majority decision.
Prediction: Matias can edge the sequel on the cards.
Nyambayar takes on Lukas
The aforementioned Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2, 9 KOs) is on this bill, and the Mongolian comes off a loss to take on Namibia’s Sakaria Lukas over ten at featherweight.
‘King Tug’ moved up to super featherweight in July last year and was soundly outscored by Chris Colbert for the WBA interim strap.
He now moves back down to take on Lukas (25-1, 17 KOs), who has travelled to the USA once before, and it ended in his only defeat, a wide one on the cards to Isaac Avelar.
Prediction: Nayambayar has lost two of his last three, but he should take a clear points win here.
Rodriguez, Holyfield feature
At middleweight, LeShawn Rodriquez (12-0, 9 KOs) can win inside schedule in his six rounder with Sixto Suazo (9-2-1, 7 KOs), and at super welterweight, the son of the legend, Evan Holyfield (8-0, 6 KOs) can also remain unbeaten, and should score an early win against Chris Rollins (5-3-1, 4 KOs) in a scheduled six rounder.
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