Ray Vargas is champion again and still undefeated.
Former WBC featherweight champion, who fought for only his second time in three years, persevered through a late knockout to take down WBC featherweight champion Mark Magsayo via a separate decision Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.
“I have no words to describe what happened here tonight,” Vargas said through an interpreter. “This is my second title. This is going back to Mexico.”
After a fierce start at the Alamodome where both men fired powerful punches and hooked them with a high percentage, the 5-foot-10 Vargas (36-0, 22 KOs) dominated the match by using his longer extension to keep distance and peppering Magsayo with punches and left hooks whenever Filipino fighter advances.
Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) missed wide at times but hit his target with big punches on several occasions during 12 innings, especially late in the ninth round, when he brought down Vargas with his counter right. The 31-year-old Mexican looked like he was on rubber legs for the rest of that round and much of the 10th round, but after that, his footwork and movement kept him some distance from Magsayo, who failed to capitalize hard on his opponent’s injury. .
Two of the judges of the ring watched the fight over Vargas with 115-112, while the third scored 114-113 for Magcio.
“I worked really hard for this,” Vargas said. “I want to thank God my family, [trainer] nacho [Ignacio Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it a lot but this one is special. This win for me.”
Vargas had ditched his 122-pound belt in 2020—not inside a ring but because of his inactivity. Now a Division I champion, he wants to return straight to the ring, saying after the fight he wants a title unification match, preferably against WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Magsayo entered the fight with a noble ambition in boxing. The 27-year-old from the Philippines is a protégé of his legendary compatriot, Manny Pacquiao, and has been promoted as the next Pacman. Magsayo became a hero in January by ending Gary Russell Jr’s seven-year tenure.
After the match, Magsayo said, “I will rest and watch the fight, I will train to fight again and I will correct my mistakes next time.”
In the co-main event, former WBC bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa put himself in the conversation to challenge Vargas by scoring a sixth-round TKO for Carlos Castro in the elimination of the featherweight title.
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