FIT as a fiddle.
That’s how boxing champion Mark Magsayo described himself exactly a month before he takes on American fighter Jose Haro in a much-awaited closed-door fight at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 23.
Magsayo, nicknamed “Magnifico”, said speed and power will be his two biggest weapons when he climbs the ring against the dangerous Haro in his first big fight under MP Promotions.
The 25-year-old pride of Tagbiiaran City, Bohol, who flew to Los Angeles as early as July to get himself ready, vowed to do his best against the highly-rated American fighter.
“Handang-handa na po ako na lumaban. I’m in top shape right now,” said Magsayo during the 9th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom yesterday.
“Excited na talaga ako lumaban at mabigyan ng karangalan ang ating bansa. Pinagha-handaan ko talaga ang laban na ito at magamit yung mga itinu-turo sa akin nina coach Freddie (Roach), coach Marvin (Somodio) at coach Justin (Fortune),” added Magsayo in the weekly session sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
He said boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is also giving him valuable tips on how to become a world champion.
“Madami din itinuturo sa akin si Kuya Manny,” said Magsayo.
Magsayo, who signed a two-year, six-fight contract with the MP Promotions, claimed he will be “looking for an early knockout as much as possible.”
Magsayo’s last fight was against Panya Uthok of Thailand last August 29, 2019. He won by unanimous decision to win the WBC-ABC featherweight title.
But despite the one-year layoff, Magsayo said he managed to keep himself in shape with strict training while in Manila and now in Los Angeles.
“Magaling yun kalaban ko. Isa pa nga lang ang talo niya. Pinanood namin yun mga laban nya para pag-aralan yun mga strengths niya,” explained Magsayo, who now regularly trains at open-air
facilities like in UCLA and public places like the Griffith Park where Pacquiao also works out during his past training camps in Los Angeles.
The Magsayo-Haro fight is part of the Premier Boxing Champions card, which will be held behind closed doors due to the pandemic but will be aired via PBC Live on Fox.
The fight was originally scheduled for May 16 , but was reset due to the widespread coronavirus pandemic.
Asked about fighting behind closed doors, Magsayo said he is ready for it.
“Mas maganda talaga kung may audience, lalo na kung meron tayong mga kapwa Pilipino na nanonood. Pero wala naman tayo magawa sa ngayon kundi mag-adapt sa sitwasyon,” Magsayo told editors and reporters of TOPS.
“Gusto ko din kasi makapagbigay ng kasiyahan sa ating mga kababayan kaya kahit paano makapanood sila sa live streaming.”
His rival is no pushover, however.
A former junior Olympian, Haro is coming off a unanimous decision win over Genaro Rodriguez.
Haro is also best remembered for his eighth-round knockout win over Daniel Franco for the USBA featherweight crown. Franco fell into a coma, recovered and decided to retire.
Haro’s only one loss so far in his boxing career came at the hands of Toka Kahn Clary via unanimous decision at Bally’s Atlantic City, last June 14, 2014.