MARK Magsayo’s morale is at an all-time high because he has been training with one of the best Filipino fighters out there—former “Fighter of the Year” Nonito Donaire Jr.
Donaire Jr. has set up training camp here in Cebu at the ALA Gym for his fight against Frenchman Anthony Settoul on July 18 in Macau. Donaire Jr. and his team chose Magsayo as his main sparring partner.
“Magsayo and Nonito have been doing really well. Both of them have been impressive in sparring,” ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor told Sun.Star Cebu.
Magsayo and Donaire Jr. have been sparring for around 30 rounds already.
The 20-year-old unbeaten prospect is also preparing for an upcoming bout, the biggest of his career yet, on July 11 in one of the featured fights of Pinoy Pride 31 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino when he takes on Mexican Rafael Reyes for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Youth featherweight title.
“It is a huge boost to his confidence, toughens him mentally and also adds to his experience. He can already compare his opponent skills with Nonito’s. Nonito’s skills is at a very high level. It will also add to Mark’s speed and skill once you spar with a fighter the caliber of Nonito,” said Villamor.
Magsayo, 10-0 with eight knockouts, will be fighting his first Mexican opponent in his first title fight.
“We have no idea about the opponent because we haven’t seen his video,” said Villamor.
The 24-year-old Reyes is an experienced fighter with a 16-4 slate including 12 knockouts. He owns a win over tough Rodolfo Hernandez, who gave Magsayo’s teammate Albert Pagara a run for his money before being stopped in the fourth last March in Manila.
Aside from Donaire Jr., Magsayo is also sparring with Elmo Traya and Roli Gasca.
“We are preparing Mark for three styles of sparring partners so that he can adjust with the style of the opponent. We expect a war,” said Villamor.
Whatever Reyes brings to the table next month, one thing’s for sure, Magsayo will come into this fight prepared.