Former super bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa (24-1-1, 18 KOs) used pressure, volume, and body punching to defeat Mark Magsayo (24-2, 16 KOs) by a grueling 12 round unanimous decision to claim the WBC interim featherweight title on Saturday night in a thrilling headliner contest at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
The scores were 118-108, 117-109, and 117-109. Boxing 247 scored it 118-108. It was a good fight and one can make an argument that the scores should have been more lopsided in Figueroa’s favour.
The referee showed little patience for Magsayo’s frequent holding in every round, as he docked a point from him in the 8th and 11th round. Magsayo seemed to fight harder after he lost his first point for holding in the eighth, but after the second point deduction, he looked like he’d already given up the ship and was no longer fighting tooth & nail as he’d been earlier.
Figueroa was on top of the 27-year-old Filipino Magsayo in the early rounds, connecting right hands and lefts to the head & body. The body shots seemed to bother the former WBC featherweight champion Magsayo a great deal, as did the high work rate.
Magsayo began holding like crazy as early the third, trying to stop Figueroa from throwing and hitting him in the breadbasket. To his credit, Figueroa continued to land shots while being held by Magsayo. It’s possible that Figueroa’s team had planned for the Magsayo’s excessive holding because he didn’t let that impact his offence the way it does to other fighters.
The referee warned Magsayo for his holding in the 7th and 8th rounds before finally tiring and taking a point away. It was pretty clear that Magsayo wasn’t going to stop holding because he had no other way of slowing down Figueroa other than to grab him repeatedly. What was surprising is the referee did not disqualify him because it was blatant.
Magsayo came on a little bit in the championship rounds, landing good shots in rounds nine, ten, and eleventh. Fighting in spurts wasn’t going to do it, though, as Figueroa was outworking him, and it was a poor plan for Magsayo to try and steal rounds in this manner.
In the eleventh, Magsayo was docked a second time by the referee, as he was totally exhausted and desperate to try and slow Figueroa down by any means necessary.
Magsayo repeatedly went down during the championship rounds, and you can argue that he should have lost points.
With the win, Figueroa could be elevated to full WBC featherweight champion if Rey Vargas doesn’t return to defend against him.
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