By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

ON AUG. 31 undefeated Filipino boxer Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo makes his ring return, taking on Thai veteran Panya Uthok; a bout that is a step in the right direction, one local boxing analyst said, in his push to jump-start his temporarily halted career.

Mr. Magsayo (19-0) is to take on Mr. Uthok (53-6) in the headlining fight of “Pride of Bohol” at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium in Tagbilaran for the vacant WBC Asia featherweight title and IBF Pan Pacific featherweight title.

It will be a homecoming for Bohol native Magsayo, 24, who last fought in Tagbilaran in November 2017 where he retained the WBO International featherweight belt by defeating Japanese Shota Hayashi by unanimous decision.

The event is also hoped to get Mr. Magsayo’s boxing career going anew after a two-year lull from the sport.

“Mark Magsayo knows for a fact that he has a talent in the sport, but in order to maximize that talent and reach his full potential, he has to fight the best boxers in the market, not just a hand-me-down opponent. Leaving ALA Boxing a few years ago was a gamble for him, but I can see where he is coming from,” said boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts on Mr. Magsayo’s upcoming fight.

“I will concur that Magsayo has the wares to strut, but he is untested. This venture might be a step in the right direction,” Mr. Icasiano added.

Mr. Magsayo saw his career go idle for a long time following his hard-fought victory over Mr. Hayashi with contractual dispute with ALA Promotions, his former handler.

He made his ring return in April this year in Singapore fighting under Vladimir Boxing Promotions, knocking out Indonesian Erick Deztroyer in the fourth round for the win.

Seeing where the Filipino boxer is coming from, Mr. Icasiano underscored the importance of the Uthok fight to Mr. Magsayo. “For two years, he (Magsayo) was inactive. It’s a big blow to his career, especially prior to that he was busy, having a minimum of three fights per year. Plus, inactivity caused him to lose his position in the rankings. Against a former world champion like Panya Uthok, if he wins, it will definitely freshen up his name in the market. It’s not an instant ticket to a title shot, but it could lure big names in his next in-ring outings,” the analyst said.

Mr. Icasiano went on to say that he sees some things going for Mr. Magsayo against his Thai opponent which could well be the difference in the Filipino emerging on top.

“Magsayo’s opponent in this fight no longer possesses the threat that he once had when he was a bantamweight. Though he managed to carve a unanimous decision win against Filipino slugger Carlo Magali last April, Magsayo’s youth will play a big factor. He has the speed and the size. Of course, Magsayo’s crisp in his punches will make it difficult for Panya Uthok,” Mr. Icasiano said.