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Mark Magsayo ends Gary Russell's long reign, becomes new WBC featherweight champ

Mark Magsayo connects on a right hook to Gary Russell. Amanda Westcott/Showtime
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The longest title reign right now in boxing has come to an end.

And at the hands of a Filipino at that.

In what could be the biggest news so far for Philippine sports this year, Mark Magsayo put an end to Gary Russell's stint as the WBC featherweight champion with a win on Sunday at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

In his biggest victory so far to his career, the now 24-0 Magsayo flashed his brilliance for most part of the bout.

Russell, however, showed heart despite hurting his right shoulder and kept the fight too close that it ended up in a majority decision favoring Magsayo.

Magsayo began the match aggressive, quickly tagging Russell with power shots especially to the torso to get a head start three rounds in.

Russell appeared to have bounced back early into Round 4, but after landing a punch, he apparently injured his right shoulder.

Despite the injury and even the weight issues he had late into training camp, the 33-year-old Russell proved why he has been a champion in the 126-pound division for nearly seven years, eventually slowing Magsayo down midway through the bout.

But come the second half, Russell's injury took a toll on him as Magsayo put on a clinic, forcing the former to just go on dodging mode with his right arm feeling the pain already.

Lynne Carter had it 114-114, but fellow judges Mark Consentino and Henry Grant both scored the bout 115-113 for the 26-year-old Magsayo, who was successful in only his first world title shot.

Russell, on the other hand, fell to 31-2, losing for the first time since also dropping a majority decision loss to Vasyl Lomachenko in 2014.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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