By News Team
19th January 2022
Gary Russell Jr and Mark Magsayo go head-to-head for the former’s WBC world featherweight title in Atlantic City on Saturday in what looks set to be an intriguing battle.
We preview the action and assess the latest odds ahead of the title bout this weekend.
Another successful title defence for Russell Jr?
Russell Jr heads into Saturday’s fight with Magsayo as one of the leading lights in the featherweight division, having held his WBC world title since beating Jhonny González back in 2015. Nearly seven years on and the American has gone on to successfully defend his belt on five occasions and, with another victory this weekend, could add his name to a list of only five other WBC featherweight titleholders with six or more title defences.
Russell Jr has grown into a formidable world champion, with speed and sharpness strong attributes of his, not to mention the experience he has amassed. The only defeat of his career came against Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2014, but since then he has won seven on the bounce and of his six successful world title fights, he has knocked out four of his opponents – which shows the threat he possesses at this level.
That said, despite Russell Jr’s dominance over the last seven years, he has been relatively inactive during this time and comes into the clash with Magsayo with over 23 months without a fight. His Filipino opponent may smell some blood…
Magsayo feeling confident
Magsayo, in contrast to Russell Jr, last fought in August when he saw off Mexican Julio Ceja to claim the WBO international featherweight title on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Yordenis Ugas. Having built up a 100% record of 23-0 heading into Saturday’s bout, Magsayo will be confident of springing an upset.
The win over Ceja was a statement victory for Magsayo and Russell Jr will no doubt have sat up and taken notice. The Filipino was recently awarded the WBC Prospect of the Year award for 2021, while he is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, which are both not to be sniffed at.
Magsayo, who has won all five of his fights in the United States, possesses devastating power, which means we should be all set for a fascinating affair when he steps into the ring against Russell Jr this weekend.
The powerful Magsayo will fancy his chances of overcoming the odds against the reigning champion, particularly given his opponent’s rustiness, and is 13/5 for victory.
However, it’s hard to see past the talent of Russell Jr, and more importantly the experience – he is seven years Magsayo’s senior – which is why the American is the odds-on 3/10 favourite for another successful title defence. Given Russell Jr’s previous joy when it comes to landing a knockout blow in such fights, the 11/4 on the champion to win by KO, TKO or DQ could be the way to go for this one.