Brandon Figueroa vs. Mark Magsayo: Test of Wills

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Two of boxing's most exciting fighters will square off in a Fight of the Year candidate Saturday night in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME.

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Brandon Figueroa vs Mark Magsayo PREVIEW: March 4, 2023 | PBC on SHOWTIME

This Saturday, March 4, from Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, all-action former world champions Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) and Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) go to war for the vacant Interim WBC Featherweight Title atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME Championship Boxing broadcast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) also features the return of former unified super welterweight world champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd as he battles the hard-hitting Jose Armando Reséndiz in a 10-round middleweight co-main event. Kicking off the telecast, unbeaten young middleweights Amilcar Vidal and Elijah Garcia meet in a 10-round contest.

The Story

Brandon Figueroa became a two-belt world super bantamweight champion in 2021 when he took Luis Nery’s WBC title and added it to his own WBA belt. Six months later, however, a close and thrilling Fight of the Year loss to Stephen Fulton would put “The Heartbreaker” back on the hunt as a contender.

The proud member of the fighting Figueroa family and native of Weslaco, Texas is now looking to make his mark in the featherweight division. In his 126-pound debut last July, he wiped out the tough, never-before-stopped Carlos Castro in six rounds. 

A win this Saturday puts him one step closer to full champion status in a second division. 

Mark Magsayo came from humble beginnings in The Philippines, idolizing national hero Manny Pacquiao to signing with Pacquiao’s MP Promotions in 2020.

Less than two years later, Magsayo became the WBC featherweight champ by beating the longest reigning world titlist at the time, Gary Russell Jr., via majority decision. He’d lose that belt in his first defense to Rey Vargas via split decision, despite dropping the accomplished Mexican in the ninth round.

The former Freddie Roach protege has chosen longtime Roach assistant Marvin Somodio as new head trainer and vows to regain his place at the top of the featherweight class.

The Stakes

Up for grabs is the Interim WBC Featherweight Title. More importantly, Figueroa and Magsayo will be looking to rebuild career momentum after tough high-profile losses.

The Matchup

Figueroa is a two-fisted, pressure-fighting volume puncher who likes to push forward, pin opponents to the ropes, and fire away. 

The 26-year-old switch-hitter gets good leverage on everything he throws and is especially sharp with the ripping uppercuts he throws to the head and body. His most effective offensive weapon, though, may be the will-sapping pressure he applies on opposition.

Figueroa has a porous defense and is not hard to hit, but he’s shown himself to have a strong chin and an unbreakable resolve.

Magsayo is aggressive by nature, with a quick, explosive ring presence. In recent outings, he’s been able to channel his raw energy into more fluid, cohesive ring efforts.

His best offensive weapons are a strong left hook and a jarring right hand. He also has a quick, sharp jab which serves as an important part of his offense.

On defense, the 27-year-old Magsayo has good reflexes and solid upper body movement. He can still be touched, though, and seems especially susceptible to left hands coming over a sometimes too-low right guard.

This is going to be an amazing fight. Former Unified Super Bantamweight World Champion - Brandon Figueroa

The Words

Brandon Figueroa

“Everyone knows that I come to fight. Come March 4, everyone is going to see what kind of fighter I am at 126-pounds. This is going to be an amazing fight. We both have the heart of a lion and we’re both trying to become champions again. I won’t let anyone get in my way. I’m coming out of the ring as a champion.”

Mark Magsayo

“The winner of this fight is going to be the fans. I’m coming back stronger than ever. I guarantee that this is going to be a great fight. Figueroa is strong and always comes forward. But I’m strong too and that’s going to make this fight one you don’t want to miss.”

The Breakdown

Figueroa is going to want to do what he does best: come forward, pin his opponent’s back against the ropes, and fling fists. It’s going to be Magsayo’s job to keep the fight off the ropes as much as possible or somehow flip the script and push Figueroa backwards.

The jab will be key for Magsayo in this matchup, dissuading a forward-minded Figueroa just enough to let the Filipino get some work done at the ideal distance. 

But Figueroa is tenacious and shutting him down will be an all-fight endeavor. Magsayo will have to be at the top of his game, in both mental focus and physical execution, if he’s going to nullify Figueroa’s non-stop aggression.

It shouldn’t take long to see where this fight is going. If Magsayo is up on the balls of his feet, shooting out the jab from the middle of the ring and ripping off lefts and rights, he’s having his way. However, if Figueroa has the former featherweight champ up against the ropes, countering punches in bunches from a flat-footed stance, the Weslaco native will be on the right path to victory. 

Magsayo has the ability to nullify Figueroa’s game. The question is whether he has the focus and dogged persistence to fight off an opponent like Figueroa, who just won’t stop coming. 

The skirmishes to determine where and how this war will be waged should be compelling “battle of wills” drama for fight fans. All in all, Figueroa-Magsayo should be an entertaining, compelling clash of styles and mindsets, built around a “must win” scenario. 

For a closer look at Figueroa vs Magsayo, check out our fight night page. 

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