2022 is just a few weeks old and already there's been a huge change in the boxing landscape.
Filipino Mark Magsayo ended the longest championship reign in male professional boxing after beating Gary Russell Jr on points to claim the WBC world featherweight title.
The future is certainly an exciting one for Magsayo who, at the age of 26, has a long career ahead of him, but will he be the next big boxing star to hail from the Phillipines?
Congratulations, @markmagsayo_MMM , on your first world championship! Thank you for bringing honor to our country by becoming the latest Filipino world boxing champion. Welcome to the club.— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) January 23, 2022
First of all, Magsayo has a perfect mentor and promoter in the form of former eight weight world champion Manny Pacquiao. Since the 43-year-old announced his retirement following his loss to Yordenis Ugas last Summer, there has been a void when it comes to the face of Filipino boxing.
The newly crowned WBC 126lb champion certainly has the credentials to now fill that void and become the new poster boy.
Boasting a record of 24-0 with 16 wins coming by way of knockout, Magsayo already has plenty of experience and has a number of avenues he could pursue in his next few fights.
There is the for potential of a rematch with Russell Jr after the American cited an injury to his right shoulder affected his performance in Atlantic City, but if that doesn't materialise, plenty of options remain.
Magsayo could go on to unify the 126lb division, WBA 'regular' champion Leigh Wood and IBF titleholder Kiko Martinez are all set to make defences in the next month or two, or could Magsayo step in the ring with hard-hitting Mexican and WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete? If those two were to meet, it has the potential to be a thrilling matchup.
A move up in weight could also be on the table.
The super featherweight division is set to look a lot clearer come the end of April after WBO champion Shakur Stevenson takes on WBC title holder Oscar Valdez. A clash at 130lbs between two WBC champions would provide an intrguing storyline and could send Magsayo on a similar trajectory to his promoter Pacquiao, who frequently moved up and down weight divisions.
Expect to hear and see a lot more of Mark Magsayo over the coming years. The new WBC featherweight champion has written himself into the Phillipines' boxing history and will now be looking to put the country back at the forefront of world boxing.