By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

UNDEFEATED Filipino boxer Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo makes his much-awaited return to the ring this weekend in a fight marking his first foray under new handler MP Promotions.

Featherweight Magsayo (20-0) will take on American Rigoberto Hermosillo (11-2-1) on Sunday, Oct. 4 (Manila time), in Los Angeles.

It will mark the first time that Mr. Magsayo will take the ring since August last year, where he was a unanimous decision winner over Thai Panya Uthok.

Mr. Hermosillo is a replacement opponent for the Filipino fighter, who was named last week, after original foe Jose Haro of the United States opted out of the fight and went into retirement.

Days before his return fight, Mr. Magsayo, who signed with Manny Pacquiao’s boxing promotion in March, expressed readiness to take on Mr. Hermosillo.

“I’m ready for the fight. My conditioning is okay, thanks to coach Justin,” said Mr. Magsayo in an online interview with BusinessWorld, referring to strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.

He went on to say that he is expecting a good fight with Mr. Hermosillo, despite the latter having lost his last two fights and that he does see the short notice for a new opponent being much of a problem.

“I know this will be a good fight because Rigoberto is an aggressive fighter who loves to go inside which suits my style. I’m looking forward to giving the boxing fans a good showing,” he said.

Adding, “Hermosillo was named on short notice but we were able to make the necessary adjustments and we’re ready to go.”

For local fight analyst Nissi Icasiano, aside from marking Mr. Magsayo’s return to the ring after a while, the Hermosillo fight has added significance for it serves as a legitimate introduction of the Bohol native to the American audience.

“This is Mark Magsayo’s legitimate introduction to the American market. Though he had two before in the United States under ALA Promotions a few years ago, this will be the first time that Uncle Sam and his constituents will get a proper glimpse of the boxer from Tagbilaran City, Bohol. From what I know, the fight will be televised on FOX Sports 1.This is an exposure that Magsayo could indeed benefit from,” said Mr. Icasiano in a separate interview.

He went on to say that Mr. Magsayo could use the fight as well to improve his rankings.

“[Magsayo] occupies the No. 4 seats in both World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation rankings. Others would argue that a victory over an unranked opponent will do nothing to improve his position in the rankings. To me, it’s the perfect fight for Magsayo in order for these title-sanctioning bodies to notice the Filipino. With a division that houses the likes of Jessie Magdaleno, Xu Can and Kid Galahad, Magsayo has to make an effort to break out of that waiting list in order to get a title shot,” he said.

The analyst, however, said veteran Magsayo should like his chances over his opponent.

“On paper, Hermosillo looks terrifying because he has won eight of his 11 career victories by way of knockout. But if we are going to look at it closely, you will see the quality of opponents that Hermosillo fought in the past. It’s not something that you can say top-notch. Hermosillo came to the States with a perfect 11-0 slate, but when he started to get blue-chip prospects as foes, he encountered problems,” he said.

“Magsayo is expected to use his experience against Hermosillo, especially after training for months under Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune.”