The World Boxing Council has identified Mexican Rey Vargas as the mandatory challenger to newly crowned featherweight champion Mark Magsayo.
Boxingscene.com reported that WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman relayed the order through another WBC official during the traditional Tuesday (US time) meeting with the boxing media, where Vargas and Magsayo were also present.
Magsayo is coming off a 12-round majority decision win over American Gary Russell Jr. on Sunday in New Jersey to improve his unblemished record to 25 wins (16 KOs) and become the fifth Filipino world titleholder.
What makes Vargas a dangerous opponent is his long reach as a 5’11” fighter. He towers above his opponents and fights intelligently as a ward of legendary mentor Nacho Beristain.
Vargas, who has a clean record of 36-0 (22 knockouts), has earned the top contender slot since winning over compatriot Leonardo Baez in November last year as a first-time featherweight.
He was the super bantamweight (122 lbs) champion from 2017 to 2020 and last defended the crown in July 2019 against Tomoki Kameda of Japan. He was out for a long time to recuperate from a leg injury.
In a report by DAZN News, WBC explained that Magsayo will not have an optional fight because he assumed the obligations of the previous champion, Russell, who was supposed to fight Vargas before the Filipino came into the picture.
“I am very happy that the WBC reiterated my position as a title challenger. I feel very happy,” said Vargas as quoted by DAZN.
“Magsayo is a wider fighter, but he is smarter. Yes, he has more strength than Gary Russell, but Magsayo showed a lot of intelligence in this fight.”
The WBC official website, wbcboxing.com, had teased the Magsayo-Vargas duel in their “Coffee Tuesdays” conference and asked Vargas what he thinks of the Filipino champion as an opponent.
Vargas replied: “It won`t be easy,” but regarding the performance he saw against Gary, he considers that he has many available resources, with which to dethrone the Filipino. “A perfect strategy is needed.”
If the Magsayo-Vargas pushes through, it will also be a battle between two legendary boxing trainers Beristain and Freddie Roach.
Beristain said in the same meeting that the “fight between Mark and Rey will be a great show because both are boxers who expend everything, adding that Rey is a boxer who works very hard, with a lot of discipline plus total focus.”
Roach is Magsayo’s trainer under the MP Boxing Promotions, owned by eight-world division champion Manny Pacquiao.