By Nicholia Rhiz Roska
LOS ANGELES -- It took almost a lifetime, a journey dotted with sharp curves and steep roads.
But in the end, Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo finally fulfilled his dream of winning a boxing title.
"It's the green belt," he told reporters of the World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight diadem he took from dethroned champion Gary Russell Jr last January 22 at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"I dreamed of this moment since I was eight years old," said the Tagbilaran city, Bohol native, now 26 and clearly on top of his division with an immaculate record of 24-0 with 16 KOs.
The last hurdle went through Russell, a gritty 32-year old American who had reigned as featherweight king since 2015.
It wasn't easy.
But Magsayo won't be denied, blasting through Russell's defenses through 12 vicious rounds, using power in both hands and a well-defined strategy to carve out a hard-earned a majority decision victory.
According to CompuBox numbers, Magsayo threw more punches overall, 543-323, and unleashed more power blows, 140-53. Mark also won the battle of jabs by a wide margin, 203-64.
"We prepared for three months for this and seeing him work hard everyday I was confident he would get the job done," Frances Magsayo, Mark's wife and manager, told SPIN.ph.
Well done, champ.