By CARLO ANOLIN
Mark Magsayo survived the tough punishment from Julio Ceja’s whistling body shots and scored a 10th round knockout win over the former Mexican champion in their WBC featherweight title eliminator at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada Saturday, Aug. 21 there (Sunday in Manila).
Magsayo, who was clearly gassed due to Ceja’s hefty power punches, started the 10th round aggressively and charged with multiple combinations which set up the perfect timing and opening for the vicious right hand that floored the Mexican boxer out cold at the corner ring at the 50-second mark.
Ecstatic with the victory, Magsayo, who remained unbeaten in 23 matches and now with 16 KOs, did a backflip at center stage, shouted in celebration, and laid down the canvas.
Ceja, for his part, fell to a 32-5-1 card with 29 KOs.
Magsayo was trailing 158-163 overall on the judges’ scorecard before scoring the sensational KO win.
Ceja had more punches landed with 163-of-554, 95 of those coming from the crisp body shots at 29 percent while Magsayo had it at 158-of-621 with 23 hits on the body at 25 percent.
In a battle of the bruisers, Magsayo connected 136 power punches out of 329 for 41 percent while Ceja closed in with 151-of-427 at 35 percent.
Jabs were barely seen as Magsayo had 22 hits out of 292 attempts at eight percent while Ceja had 12-of-127 at nine percent.
The Tagbilaran, Bohol native boxer recovered from an aching body and a bloodied nose after being decked by Ceja in the fifth round with some powerful body shots.
Magsayo was put in a very dangerous position in the sixth frame but distanced himself a bit to unleash a strong left hook that briefly wobbled Ceja.
The action continued with the unwavering body shots from the Mexican pug while Magsayo unloaded double left hooks in response.
Magsayo continued to uncork those double left hooks before dropping a strong hook that saw Ceja swaying back-and-forth as he backed away from the Filipino late in the seventh.
With momentum slowly going to his favor, Magsayo did most of the work in the eighth round, throwing all sorts of punches but the steel-bodied Mexican remained unfazed and still managed to land hurtful body shots.
With both fighters still gassed from the all-out brawl, Magsayo capitalized on his strong showing in the ninth heading into the thrilling 10th-round win which enabled the unscathed Filipino to challenge WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. of the United States, who holds an impressive record of 31-1 slate with 18 KOs, for his first major world title.
Magsayo waxed hot early in the first round with a huge left hook that dropped Ceja but the Mexican pugilist beat the count and started to target the Boholano’s abdominal area from then on.