Gary Russell Jr. hurt his right shoulder and was essentially forced to fight with one arm.
Mark Magsayo took full advantage and brought enough pressure to edge a compromised Russell by majority decision to become the new WBC world featherweight champion. Judges at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday night saw it 114-114, 115-113 and 115-113 for Magsayo.
"My dream came true," Magsayo told Showtime's Jim Gray. "This is my dream since I was a child. I’m so proud I’m a champion now."
Magsayo sensed that Russell was nursing his right shoulder early into the fight. The mandatory challenger responded by pressuring the champion and scoring with punishing body shots to bank several rounds during the first half of the fight.
Although Magsayo slowed down a bit and Russell used his ring IQ to land that left hand and take rounds himself, the veteran couldn't catch up to the sheer output that Magsayo had amassed by the fight's end. That brought a disappointing end to Russell's title reign, though it was valiant the way he fought with his left hand only.
"I couldn't use my right arm," Russell told Gray, adding that he believes he tore a tendon in his right shoulder and that the injury happened two weeks ago while in camp.
Still, Russell felt like he won the fight and said he'd like a rematch when he heals.
Magsayo drew instant praise from boxing legend and fellow countryman Manny Pacquiao for his victory.
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.
Magsayo has taken advantage of a compromised Russell by producing a higher output. He comes out and applies instant pressure by letting his hands go. Russell lands a left but Magsayo returns fire with two rights. Russell doubles up with that left jab. But Magsayo returns fire. (10-9 Russell, 115-113 Magsayo)
Magsayo now showing that aggression that he had earlier in the fight. He gives chase and rips the champ with hooks to the body. He keeps applying the pressure as Russell gets on his bike around the ring to escape harm. Magsayo now trying to time the champ and land something impactful. (10-9 Magsayo, 106-103 Magsayo)
You get the distinct feeling watching this fight that if Russell wasn't nursing his right shoulder that he'd be picking Magsayo apart. Yet, with one hand, Russell is relying on his ring IQ and that's good enough to take this round with just enough work with that left. (10-9 Russell, 96-94 Magsayo)
Magsayo's output remains higher but his aggression has gone down over the last few rounds. Russell is taking advantage of that by picking and landing shots with that left hand — his only weapon. Yet, here comes Magsayo putting pressure on the champ late. Enough pressure to take the round. Is Russell's title reign slipping away? (10-9 Magsayo, 87-84 Magsayo)
The champ brushes Magsayo back with two quick jabs to start. He lunges forward with a left and then potshots the contender with a left for good measure, too. Lead right lands for Magsayo but the champ counters with a left. Magsayo lands a left of his own now. The champ is asserting his savvy well. He has to if his right shoulder is as much of an issue as it looks to be. (10-9 Russell, 77-75 Magsayo)
Russell is not using his right hand to set up a left-handed shot at all. They briefly exchange fire now. They each spend the remainder of the round looking for an edge but not getting it. (10-9 Magsayo, 68-65 Magsayo)
Magsayo slightly brushes Russell back with a body shot. Another stinging shot to the body follows. And another. Russell now with a well-timed left to the body. Russell's output this round is low. But just as that's said, he counters and lands with a left hook. A crisp left hook slightly wobbles Magsayo but his legs seem fine. (10-9 Magsayo, 58-56 Magsayo)
Russell complains of a hurt right shoulder between rounds as he sort of winced in pain. Russell is essentially only throwing a left but is having some success with it this round. If Magsayo meets that left with a hook, the champ could be in serious trouble. Russell digs a left hook to the body now. Magsayo now goes back to the body. (10-9 Russell, 48-47 Magsayo)
Magsayo might have hurt the champ with a barrage of shots against the ropes, prompting Russell to resort to the clinch. The champ responds with a stinging straight left but Magsayo is back to unloading with power shots — this time a left hook. With under 30 seconds left, Russell fires away on four unanswered left jabs but they don't help the champ steal the round. (10-9 Magsayo, 39-37 Magsayo)
Magsayo comes out and winds up a crunching right uppercut that lands to the body. Another perfectly-timed uppercut lands for the Filipino fighter. The champ responds moments later with a lightning-quick combination. Magsayo returns fire, as he goes back to the body. Another round for Magsayo, who has fought as the taller, bigger man so far. (10-9 Magsayo, 20-18 Magsayo)
Russell comes out trying to assert the jab, while Magsayo is already letting his heavy hands go. Russell slips a punch and it momentarily looks like he's about to deliver a WWE-style back body drop on the Filipino before the ref breaks it up. Magsayo with a stinging body shot now. Another body shot lands. He drives the champ back with a right and then a left. Strong first round by Magsayo. All his shots landed were crisp and hard. (10-9 Magsayo)
Magsayo makes his entrance for the biggest fight of his career. Russell follows. From his father's health issues to his own "slight injury," Russell has plenty of obstacles to overcome against a hungry contender. Can he extend his title defense streak to six? We're about to find out.
A ringside doctor checks on a battered Ananyan, who can't follow her fingers with his eyes. She advises for the bout to be stopped and the ref follows suit. Sweet revenge for Matias, who produced a great performance with the technical knockout.
Ananyan needs to be checked out at a hospital after that concerning reaction.
The ref docks Matias a point for going low with his shots. However, that doesn't stop him from unleashing stiff shots that Ananyan is somehow eating. Ananyan returns fire in an even exchange late, but Matias got the better of the action in this seventh round. (68-64 Matias)
Ananyan digs his way back into the fight here in the sixth by keeping Matias on the ropes and landing stiff left hooks and overhand rights. That's the first round to Ananyan. I have it 59-55 for Matias halfway through.