It was a clash of a new champion against a veteran former champion and in the end, the veteran Rey Vargas emerged victorious in taking the WBC featherweight title from Mark Magasayo by split decision Saturday night in San Antonio, TX.
Vargas’ win came by scores of 115-112 on two of the cards with the third judge siding with the previously unbeaten Magsayo at 114-113 in the Showtime Boxing/Premier Boxing Champions main event at the Alamodome,
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The taller and more experienced Vargas used his jab a hard left hooks to take control of the bout in the middle rounds, but then, the Filipino champ turned the entire fight on a single punch in the ninth round. That’s when he dropped the Mexican with a straight right hand in close quarters for a knockdown. However, importantly, Vargas didn’t let Magsayo, now 26-1, follow up for a possible second knockdown or stoppage before the bell.
Still, Magsayo, who had beaten veteran WBC champ Gary Russell in an upset decision to take the title in January, was coming on strong and scored with right hands in the 10th round to win that frame on all three official judges’ cards.
In the end, Vargas, 36-0, 22 KOs, put things back together with his jab and keeping distance from Magsayo. He won the final two rounds on the cards and that gave him the title win. Final Compubox numbers showed Vargas out-landing Magsayo 135-92 in power shots and 196-132 overall for the bout.
“I’m at a loss of words. I worked hard for this. I want to thank God, my family, [trainer] Nacho [Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it greatly but this one is special. This win is for me,” Vargas said to Showtime after the bout.
“It was a great fight, my dad was full of emotional when he spoke to me today… Now I want the unification bout. I want to fight Leo Santa Cruz. We’ve already talked about it with my team.”
Vargas, who previously held the WBC Jr. Featherweight title from 2017-19 for four defenses, now has another world title in the division up.
Meanwhile, it’s a tough loss for the Filipino, who’s star faded in “the Lone Star State” almost as quick as it had risen six months ago in the Russell upset.
Earlier in the night, former 122 lb. world title holder Brandon Figueroa returned in the ring for the first time in 2022 and did so as a featherweight stopping veteran Carlos Castro in the sixth round. Figueroa dropped Castro, who came in with only one loss in his pro career, in the third round with a couple of hard body shots. He almost stopped Castro with a barrage of punches after, but could not finish him. Interestingly, Castro rallied in the fourth and fifth and was scoring on Figueroa. However, Figueroa turned that right back around in the early part of the sixth round, when his barrage of 15 unanswered shots resulted in the TKO at 2:11.
The victory improved the Texan Figueroa to 23-1-1 with the only loss coming last November in a super bantamweight unification bout with Stephen Fulton. Fulton won a narrow decision, but it appears, for now, Figueroa will stay up a weight at featherweight and might look for a title shot with Rey Vargas now, as well.