Gary Russell Jr. vs. Mark Magsayo
Virtual Press Conference
WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. and top
contender and WBC mandatory challenger Mark Magsayo
previewed their world title showdown during a virtual press
conference Tuesday before they headline action live on
SHOWTIME Saturday, January 22 in a Premier Boxing Champions
event from Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m.
ET/6 p.m. PT and will see super lightweight contenders
Subriel Matías and Petros Ananyan meet for a rematch in the
12-round co-main event, while hard-hitting featherweight
Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar and Vic Pasillas square off
in the 10-round telecast opener.
Russell, who owns the longest reign of any current male
champion and has held his 126-pound belt since 2015, will
look to make his sixth consecutive successful title defense
on January 22, when he takes on the Filipino power-puncher
Magsayo, who is trained by Freddie Roach and comes in off of
a Knockout of the Year contender over former champion Julio
Ceja last August.
Here is what the fighters had to say Tuesday:
GARY RUSSELL JR.
“I use everything going on with me outside of the ring as
fuel. It’s been very difficult dealing with the passing of
my brother and my dad’s health issues. I tell people all the
time that life is like boxing. You have to keep your chin
down and hands up. I’m grateful that I’m mentally strong
when it comes to stuff like this. This is what champions do,
we overcome adversity.
“I’ve been willing to compete against whoever, whenever and
wherever. But I can’t force these guys to get in the ring
and fight me. I just have to prepare to the best of my
ability. I need a dance partner.
“I see him as a good even-handed puncher, maybe he leans a
little more to the right hand. He has good punching power,
but none of that matters if you can’t hit your target.
“We’re grinding in training camp. No matter what, we’re not
going to make any excuses or complaints.
“If I’m going to move up in weight, I want to fight the
champion. I’m not planning to move up in weight just to
stand in line. I’m fighting Magsayo because he moved up the
rankings and earned this spot. Everyone who I’ve competed
against has been the next best guy under the champion.
“I don’t have any concerns with Magsayo’s power. You very
seldom see me have to come back on the scorecards. Magsayo
had to come back in his last fight because he was losing on
the cards. That shows some holes in his armor.
“I never overlook anybody. Of course I want the Gervonta
Davis fight. But I’m focused on Magsayo. He’s the one who
worked his way into this position to fight me. Davis is in
no rush, so I’m going to remain focused on a true warrior
who’s getting into the ring with me.
“I stay in the gym. Boxing is not just what I do, it’s a
lifestyle for me. Even when I’m over and done with my
career, I’m still going to be in the gym. I never really
blow up and get big in weight. I love what I do and I’m very
militant in my mindset.
“No one can really prepare for me. You can’t prepare like
you think you can. I know Magsayo will be at his physical
and mental best. I take my hat off to him, because he’s
willing to put it on the line to prove he’s the best. I wish
other fighters would take that same risk.
“A lot of these other guys aren’t willing to step in there
with me because of the skillset that I bring. Finally, we
have another fighter with some heart who’s willing to fight.
I want him to bring his best, so we’ll see whose best is
“I’m very thankful to my whole team for making this fight
happen. I’ve been training for three and a half months now,
so I’m going to be well prepared for this fight.
“I don’t think Gary has faced anyone since he became
champion that has the skills that I have. I’m going to go in
there to show him something he’s never seen before and we’ll
see how he reacts.
“I learned a lot from the Ceja fight. That gave me a lesson
on how to adjust in the middle of a fight. It’s going to
help me against Russell.
“I respect Gary Russell Jr., he’s a great champion, but I’m
winning this fight on January 22. I want to prove to the
people everywhere that I’m the best featherweight in the
“I’m going to show the world that I’m the best at this
weight. This is the fight that I’ve wanted for a long time.
I’ve been waiting patiently for my chance and I’m ready to
do my best.
“I’ve had great sparring partners to prepare me for Russell
and give me the same looks that he’ll give me on fight
night. This is my first world title fight and I’m going to
give it my all.
“I’m not trying to be the next Manny Pacquiao, but I’m
trying to put my own mark on the history of this sport and
for all Filipinos. I’m hungry to prove it all in the ring.
“I’m going to be the stronger fighter against Russell. We
trained every day with Freddie Roach and we’ve worked on a
lot of different techniques we’ll use in this fight.
“I know he’s going to bring his talent into the ring, but
I’m going to show everybody that I can deliver a great fight
and become champion.”