By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

DEALT an unexpected blow to his return to the boxing ring when his supposed opponent suddenly backed out, Filipino Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo said he is moving on, continuing to work until a replacement foe is named.

Mr. Magsayo (20-0) was set to face American Jose Haro (15-1) on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles before the latter announced last week that he was pulling out of the scheduled fight and going into retirement, citing family reasons for his decision.

The fight, which was rescheduled to Oct. 3, was supposed to mark the return of the undefeated Magsayo to the ring, having last fought in August last year where he won over Thai Panya Uthok by unanimous decision.

It was also his first fight as a member of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, whom he signed with in March.

Mr. Magsayo admitted that Mr. Haro’s withdrawal was very disappointing as he was really training hard to make his ring return a success.

“Initially, I was really disappointed, but I understand him (Haro). I was really excited in facing Haro and we were really surprised when we saw the news on Twitter that he was backing out,” said 25-year-old Magsayo in Filipino in an online interview with BusinessWorld.

“I was ready to fight and was actually doing sparring for eight rounds when we got hold of the news. I was in great condition,” he added.

MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons is currently busy looking for a replacement opponent for Mr. Magsayo in time for the October event.

Despite the turn of events, Bohol native Magsayo said his focus is the same and that work continues for him and his team, with the end view of having him ready when the new opponent comes along.

“It’s the same for us. We will use the added time to sharpen my game. I’ll leave the job of finding my next opponent to our promoter and just concentrate on training,” he said.

Mr. Magsayo is now in the United States, training under the guidance of coaches Freddie Roach, Marvin Somodio and Justine Fortune.

“As disappointing as the recent turn of events is (Haro backing out), it is what it is. That’s how things are in boxing sometimes. Maybe, there is still a better fight for me out there,” said Mr. Magsayo.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the ring and giving a performance that Filipino fans can enjoy and be proud of.”