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Jessie Magdaleno: ‘I want to be the first fighter to knock Yenifel Vicente out’

Magdaleno (right) cracks Nonito Donaire. Photo by MIkey Williams/ Top Rank
10
Jun

Former junior featherweight titleholder Jessie Magdaleno has put defeat to Isaac Dogboe behind him and is in a much happier place.

Rather than drain himself to make the 122-pound limit, Magdaleno feels strong and more confident in his quest of capturing a world featherweight title.

Before he challenges any of the world titleholders at 126 pounds, however, Magdaleno must first get past Yenifel Vicente on Thursday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 10-round bout will air live on ESPN (7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT).

Magdaleno (27-1, 18 knockouts), who resides in Las Vegas, is coming off a ninth-round technical decision win over former featherweight title challenger Rafael Rivera on August 17 in Los Angeles.



Due to that lengthy layoff, the experienced southpaw may have his hands full against Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs), who is originally from the Dominican Republic and now resides in Miami, Florida. The visitor is best-known for closing the distance and breaking down his opponents on the inside. Despite being the favorite, Magdaleno refuses to overlook the challenger.

“Any opponent is dangerous and Vicente is no exception,” Magdaleno told The Ring. “I’m not looking past him. He’s in a good position and he has a lot of good wins on his record. I know he would like to knock me out, and he may be on the backside of his career, but a victory, even a knockout, would be great for me.”

“If it gets to that point, I want to be the first fighter to knock him out.”

Isaac Dogboe (right) vs. Jessie Magdaleno. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Magdaleno (left) at war with Dogboe. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Magdaleno has won two bouts since suffering an 11th-round knockout at the hands of Dogboe in April 2018. That’s his only defeat to date, and he surrendered his WBO 122-pound title in the process.

After consultation with his team, Magdaleno elected to move up in weight and that decision has paid off dividends.

“A lot of people ask, ‘What’s four pounds?’” said Magdaleno, who is promoted by Top Rank and managed by Frank Espinoza. “It’s huge. Going from 122 to 126 pounds is a drastic change. I feel stronger and I’m not killing myself to make weight. I’m not struggling and I feel more like I’m an all-around fighter.”

“When I look back at that fight, I did start out well (knocking Dogboe down in the opening round). I felt weaker as the fight progressed; my whole body felt drained. As far as I’m concerned, Dogboe didn’t beat me – I beat myself.”

Magdaleno is ranked No. 9 by The Ring at 126 pounds. He is currently the mandatory challenger for the WBC title and is ranked No. 4 by the WBO.

Fights with WBO titleholder Shakur Stevenson, who stopped Felix Caraballo on Tuesday night, or IBF titleholder Josh Warrington, are possible. However, Magdaleno is focused on another mission.

“I really want to fight Gary Russell,” Magdaleno revealed. “To me, that fight makes the most sense. I know I can make the weight and I think it’s a good fight for me. Whatever benefits me, whether it’s a shot at the WBC or WBO titles, but I want to fight Gary Russell. I feel that I would be at my best and I would be ready to take on that challenge.”

The 28-year-old Magdaleno has always benefitted from having the support of his brother, former lightweight title challenger Diego Magdaleno. Both train alongside one another, but Magdaleno is grateful for the support he receives from his entire family.

“It’s great having my brother understand what I go through and vice versa,” said Magdaleno. “He had a great win in his last fight (against Austin Dulay on February 15) and had a hell of a show. I’m proud of him and I know he’s proud of me. I have my parents, my sister, wife, and the rest of my family that supports me and I feed off of that.”

Magdaleno is confident that he can build off the momentum of his last two fights and be victorious over Vicente on Thursday.

“I feel great as a featherweight,” said the former titleholder. “I have a great future ahead of me. I’m confident I can win a world title at 126 pounds.”

 

Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

 

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