READY TO RUMBLE. Undefeated Filipino boxing champion Mark ‘Magnifico’ Magsayo (seated, center) talks about his much-awaited title fight against veteran Panya Uthok of Thailand during the TOPS Forum at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila on Aug. 8, 2019. Magsayo said he is ready face his Thai opponent for the vacant WBC Asia and IBF Pan-Pacific featherweight titles at the Bohol Wisdom gymnasium in Tagbilaran, Bohol on Aug. 31. (TOPS photo)

MANILA – Undefeated Filipino boxing champion Mark "Magnifico" Magsayo said he is fit as a fiddle less than a month before his much-awaited title fight against veteran Panya Uthok of Thailand at the “Pride of Bohol” boxing promotion at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium in Tagbilaran, Bohol on August 31.

Buoyed by his sensational fourth-round knockout victory in his most recent fight in April, Magsayo expressed confidence that he will beat his Thai opponent in his homecoming fight for the vacant WBC Asia and IBF Pan-Pacific featherweight titles.

Handang-handa na ako sa laban. Pipilitin ko talagang manalo para sa mga kababayan ko sa Bohol (I’m very much ready I will really try to win for my countrymen in Bohol),” said Magsayo during his appearance in the 34th “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros on Thursday.

“I’m really happy to be given the chance to fight again in front of my townmates, kaya talagang puspusan ang paghahandang ginagawa ko,” added the 24-year-old Magsayo, who holds a handsome ring record of 19 wins, including 14 by knockouts.

It will be the second time in three years that Magsayo will fight before his townmates since beating Shota Hayashi of Japan by unanimous decision to retain the WBO International featherweight belt in Tagbilaran, Bohol in November 2017.

Asked about his homecoming fight, Magsayo said he is now more relaxed and confident.

Nung unang laban ko sa Bohol, medyo tense at excited. Ngayon mas handa na (During my first fight in Bohol, I was a little bit tense and excited. Now I’m ready),” he said.

A misunderstanding with his erstwhile manager, ALA Promotions, forced Magsayo to a long two-year break before he returned to the ring to knock out Erick Destroyer of Indonesia in Singapore in April.

“Everything is okay now. Sila talaga ang nag-alaga ng husto kay Mark pero tapos na yun kontrata dahil hindi na na-renew. Nagpa-alam naman din sa kanila (ALA Promotions) si Mark (They really took care of Mark but the contract is over and did not renew. Mark said goodbye to them). And now he’s fighting under Vladimir Boxing Promotions,” Magsayo’s wife-manager Frances said.

The husband and wife tandem now hope a convincing victory over Uthok (53-6 win-loss with 35 KOs) will line him for a crack at the elusive world title.

“We will have another fight for him (Magsayo). Or siguro mga two wins pa ang kailangan (He needs two more wins, I think). Then maybe he’ll be ready for a title fight early next year,” Frances said.

Magsayo’s coach, Rissan Muelas, said the Filipino will be a good match for the Thai veteran.

"He (Magsayo) has the speed, the timing, and the stamina to handle Uthok. The Thai likes to get inside and mix it up, so we’re now working on Mark’s stamina to enable him to stay alert for 12 full rounds,” Muelas said.

Madami na ding mga Pilipino na na-knockout itong kalaban natin (His opponent has knockout good number of Filipino boxers)."

Also present during the weekly forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, PAGCOR, Community Basketball Association and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks and shown on Facebook live via Glitter Livestream are Games and Amusement Board (GAB) Boxing and Other Contact Sports officer in charge Jackie Lou Cacho and the Karate Pilipinas Sports Federation, Inc. (KPSFI) president Richard Lim and national athletes Jamie Lim, Allison Quiroga and Alwyn Batican.

Cacho reported that almost 60 boxing promoters and managers attended the GAB Consultative Meeting held at the GAB office in Makati City with no less than chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra in attendance last July 31.

Among the topics discussed were required age for a new professional boxer, which is 18 years old and above; waiving the Special Work Permit (SWP) for foreign boxers subject to Immigration laws and other applicable laws; submission of a copy of a professional boxers license and authority to fight for all foreign boxers coming here; and, new license renewal system, which will be on annual basis during the transition period. (PR)