Saturday, April 01, 2023  |


Rey Vargas ready for warrior appointment with WBC 126-pound titleholder Mark Magsayo

Rey Vargas is hoping to get back on top. Photo by Lawrence Lustig
Fighters Network

Former junior featherweight titleholder Rey Vargas will challenge Mark Magsayo for the WBC featherweight title at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

Vargas, who made five defenses of his WBC 122-pound title before vacating, is looking to put an arduous period of his life behind him.

“The last two years have been difficult, not just for me but for the world with the pandemic,” Vargas (35-0, 22 knockouts) told The Ring through Mauricio Gonzalez. “I had an injury; it was a fracture in my foot. I had to wait until the fracture healed, then I got Covid. Thank God everything went well and I was able to recover.

“I am ready to go and happy to have this opportunity to be on top of the world and fight for a title.”

The 31-year-old Mexican is the WBC mandatory challenger and he welcomes the opportunity to face the quick-fisted Magsayo.

“He’s good; there’s a reason he’s world champion,” said Vargas. “He’s strong and fast. What makes him strong is he fights going forward. He has a similar style to [Manny] Pacquiao.

“It’s going to be a great fight, obviously a very tough fight, the guy’s a warrior. I believe the fans are waiting for it. I’m excited for it and I know it’s going to be a battle against a warrior.”

Magsayo (right) dethroned Gary Russell in January. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

This fight also brings together two legendary trainers who have a long-standing rivalry of their own.

Vargas, as always, has prepared himself under the watchful eye of Nacho Beristain at the famous Romanza gym in Mexico City, while Magsayo is training with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card in Los Angeles. Beristain and Roach worked with Juan Manual Marquez and Pacquiao, respectively, through an epic four-fight series.

“Having Freddie Roach and Nacho Beristain [as our trainers] is huge,” Vargas acknowledged. “They’re famous guys and it’s hugely supportive. It’s great, but, at the end of the day, it’s just the two [fighters] in the ring.”

Vargas knows that victory will jump start his career after having being absent from the world scene for over three years.

“This fight gives me the opportunity to be a two-weight world champion and to add to some of the accolades I already have,” he said. “It’s something many dream about but can’t make happen.

“I was [WBC 122-pound] champion for four years. [Victory] would cement my career. It would catapult my career and highlight everything I’ve done.”

Magsayo (24-0, 16 knockouts) turned professional in 2013. The popular Filipino southpaw is blessed with handspeed and impressive power. On his way up he beat Chris Avalos (TKO 6), Shota Hayashi (UD 12), former world titleholder Pungluang Sor Singyu (UD 12) and he scored a stirring come-from-behind knockout of Julio Ceja (KO 10). In his most recent outing, the 26-year-old claimed the WBC title by beating long-reigning titleholder Gary Russell Jr. (MD 12).

The Showtime event will also feature Brandon Figueroa versus Carlos Castro in a WBC featherweight title eliminator, and Frank Martin vs. Ricardo Nunez in lightweight action. The broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

Mauricio Gonzalez helped translate this feature. The Ring appreciates his assistance.


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright