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Magsayo defends title before hometown fans

From left. ALA chief trainer Edmund Villamor, ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara, Mark ‘Magnifico’ Magsayo and Jeo ‘Santino’ Santisima pose during the press conference for Pinoy Pride 42 yesterday at the St. Mark’s Hotel. Paul Jun E. Rosaroso

CEBU, Philippines — Bigtime boxing returns to the historic province of Bohol as unbeaten hometown idol Mark ‘Magnifico’ Magsayo (17-0, 13KOs) of the ALA Gym defends his WBO International featherweight title against Shota Hayashi (30-6, 18KOs) of Japan in the main event of Pinoy Pride 43 on November 25 in Tagbilaran City.

Magsayo will make his third title defense with hopes of inching closer towards his dream of fighting for a world title.

“I can feel that I am close to my dream. I just want to take it one fight at a time. For me, I am ready but it still depends on my promoter,” said the WBO ranked No.6 Magsayo in a press conference yesterday at the St. Mark’s Hotel.

“I heard this Japanese guy is tough. He is a technical boxer and at the same time has power. I want to be tested, so I welcome this challenge,” said the 22-year-old Magsayo. “What makes it more special is that I will be fighting in front of my fellow Boholanos. It gives me inspiration to go for an impressive victory.”

Magsayo scored back-to-back first round knockout victories against Tanzanian Issa Nampepeche last April 29 and the most recent against Nicaraguan Daniel Diaz last July 8.

For his part, the former Japan featherweight champion Hayashi is fresh from his third round stoppage of Filipino Markquil Salvana last September 2 at the Aioi Hall in Kariya, Japan.

“This guy (Hayashi) is dangerous. Mark needs an opponent like this to test if he is really ready for top 10 fighters in his division,” said Magsayo’s trainer Edmund Villamor.

In the equally-explosive supporting main events, other ALA hard-hitters in ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara and Jeo ‘Santino’ Santisima will slug it out with separate foreign foes.

Pagara (28-1, 19KOs) will continue his road to redemption as he takes on Mohammed Kambaluta (17-3, 6KOs) of Tanzania in a non-title bout scheduled for 10 rounds under the super bantamweight division, while Santisima (14-2, 13KOs) battles Indonesian Kichacng Kim (8-4, 2KOs).

Five other ALA pugs are also set to see action including one-time world title challenger Melvin Jerusalem, veteran Rocky Fuentes, Jhunriel Jimenez, Esneth Domingo and Christian Bacolod. (FREEMAN)

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