Rey Vargas defeats Mark Magsayo by split decision to become two-division world champion

SAN ANTONIO – Rey Vargas is back on top of the throne.

The former WBC junior featherweight champion, fighting for just the second time in three years, overcame a ninth-round knockdown to unseat WBC featherweight champ Mark Magsayo by split decision Saturday in San Antonio, Texas, to dethrone WBC featherweight champ Mark Magsayo via split decision on Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

Two judges scored the fight 115-112 for Vargas, while the third had it 114-113 for Magsayo, who was making the first defense of his title he won by defeating long-reigning world champion Gary Russell Jr. in January.

"I have no words to describe what happened here tonight," Vargas said through an interpreter. "This is my second title. This one's going back to Mexico."

According to Compubox, Vargas landed 196 of 687 punches (29 percent) and Magsayo connected on 132 of 451 punches (29 percent).

The hard-hitting Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs), as he normally does, missed wildly at points, but came up big in the ninth round, when he floored Vargas with a counter right hand. The 31-year-old Mexican spent the rest of the frame in recovery mode and Magsayo was unable to capitalize. Vargas then went back to using his jab and footwork to prevent Magsayo from planting his feet.

"I worked hard for this," Vargas said. "I want to thank God, my family, [trainer] Nacho [Beristain]. The first title I won, I enjoyed it greatly but this one is special. This win is for me."

Vargas was forced to vacate his 122-pound belt in 2020 due to leg and hand injuries, the first which was sustained after a motorcycle accident. Now a champion again, he is ready to challenge the best, preferably long-reigning WBA "Super" featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz, who has not defended his belt since 2019.

Magsayo resorted to excuses following his first loss as a pro.

“When I had him down, the punch was straight, he did his job in the ring, running,” he stated. “I applied the pressure and did what we trained for in the gym, but he was taller and he’s the man today.”

However, Magsayo went on to imply that there are corrections he can make for his next fight, and perhaps a rematch down the line.

"I will rest and watch the fight and I'm going to train to fight again and will correct my mistakes for the next time," he added.

In the chief support contest, former WBC junior featherweight champion Brandon Figueroa scored a sixth-round TKO of Carlos Castro in a WBC featherweight title eliminator

Share this story

must see