Have you noticed the trunks worn by Filipino boxer Mark Magsayo during his recent fight in the United States?
On Saturday (Sunday in Manila) night, Magsayo needed only four rounds to hack out a technical knockout victory over American Pablo Cruz in a 10-round featherweight bout.
But more valuable than the win that drew him nearer to his championship dream, Magsayo joined the chorus of top sports personalities in condemning Asian hate crimes in the US.
The proud son of Bohol province from Southern Philippines entered the ring wearing black and yellow gold trunks. At the back’s beltline are the words “STOP ASIAN HATE” in big, bold letters.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic which many have wrongly put the blame on China, citizens of Asian descent have become targets of hate crime in America and Europe.
One of the recent victims was a Filipino male, who was slashed in the face with a metal cutter by an identified assailant in New York.
The spate of violence against Asian-Americans, who number nearly 19 million in the US, has prompted Filipino-American sports celebrities like Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and Taiwanese basketball superstar Jeremy Lin to speak out against racism towards Asians.
Boxing icon Senator Manny Pacquiao also posted in his social media account a challenge to Asian haters to “fight me instead.”
Magsayo’s act of protest was probably the first time a prominent Asian athlete wore something that openly condemns anti-Asian racism.
A few hour before his fight, Magsayo posted a photo of his uniforms on his social media page and with a caption using the hashtag #STOPTHEHATENOMATTERWHATYOURCOLORIS.
Magsayo’s bout was one of the undercards of the co-main event, where his fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas scored a tough unanimous decision win against Jonathan Rodriguez of Mexico to retain his International Boxing Federation superflyweight title.
“I hope I was able to give you an entertaining fight and make you happy even for a while during this pandemic,” Magsayo told his Filipino fans as he remained undefeated in 22 fights.
It was a win that solidified his chances for a possible title fight against champions Emanuel Navarrete (World Boxing Organization), Leo Sta. Cruz (World Boxing Association) or Gary Russel Jr (World Boxing Council).
“I can’t wait to be back in the ring soon,” Magsayo added.
When that time comes, expect him to be wearing again his boxing shorts depicting his fight against Asian hate.
After all, Magsayo believes that Asian lives matter, too.