Mark Magsayo – Not Yet Ready

Mark Magsayo and the ALA Boys

Writted by: Mike Ochosa

I was out of the country and was unable to to watch the Mark Magsayo vs. Shota Hayashi fight.  I heard that the fight was entertaining and Magsayo won by unanimous decision.

Fortunately, I saw the replay on ABS-CBN Sports and Action and caught rounds 7 to 10.   Although the boxers were both very busy it was obvious to me that Magsayo was the much better pugilist and was clearly going to cruise to victory.  Hayashi did not have any punching power, was lacking in fundamentals and was unable to defend himself against the body shots of Magsayo.   It was also clear that the Japanese was tough enough to take Magsayo’s punches and stay up till the end.

Magsayo deserved the praises my boxing writer colleagues were throwing at him.  What caught my attention and concern was that some firmly believe that Magsayo is ready now for a world title.  What was more alarming to me was the name Oscar Valdez was being mentioned.


Let me first be clear, I believe that Mark Magsayo is one of the better boxers we have.   Pit him against any regular boxer, Mark will find a way to finish the job.  The last couple of  Antonio L. Aldeguer (ALA) Promotions   fights aired on ABS-CBN Sports and Action do give the viewer their moneys’ worth.  It is full of action and definitely entertaining.  However, to say that Mark is ready for Oscar Valdez, the current World Boxing Organization champion, might be premature.


Shota Hayashi’s record coming into the fight against Magsayo was 30-6-1.  Of his thirty wins, he has posted 18 knock outs.   A relatively good KO to win ratio but his list of past opponents reflects a lack of quality challengers.  His last 3 opponents already had a total of 11 losses split amongst them and all of them have already suffered a KO loss.

Hayashi wrested the Japanese Featherweight Title from Noriyuki Ueno who had a record of 18-13-5 when they met, and had already suffered 3 knockout defeats.


Magsayo’s previous opponents were not that impressive, as well.

Prior to Hayashi, Magsayo was featured in fights against boxers who already had a good number of losses before  their meeting.  Daniel Diaz had 7 losses,  Issa Nampepeche also had 7.   Ramiro Robles and Chris Avalos had 5 and 4, respectively.

These fighters have decent records and gave Magsayo a good challenge and the fans a good show.  But to say that this experience is enough for Magsayo to face Oscar Valdez should be given  a second thought.


Oscar Valdez is the reigning and undisputed champion of his weight division and boasts of an unblemished record of 23 wins with no losses.  On top of that Valdez has 19 knockouts to his credit, an 83%  KO/win ratio.

Valdez has faced quality opponents.  His last 5 opponents only share a total of 5 losses.  Two of them were undefeated before they stepped into the ring with him namely; Matias Rueba and Genesis Servania.

I have been fortunate to have seen Oscar Valdez at ringside in live action against Hiroshige Osawa and Evgeny Gradovich, both of whom pushed Valdez to the limit but further heightened the  potential of the current champion.  Valdez was always in control, throwing combinations, fighting intelligently and unleashing his power at the most appropriate times.

This does not mean that Valdez is unbeatable. In fact, it was Filipino Genesis Servania, who revealed this.  Valdez’ unanimous decision victory does not reflect how close the fight really was.  Sevania matched each combination of Valdez and stayed with the Mexican toe to toe.

Valdez was also a touted amateur competing in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.   Despite not bringing home the gold, Valdez’ skill and power were brought to fore.


Mark Magsayo is ranked number 2 contender by the WBO.  His record of 18 wins with no losses is obviously outstanding, his knockout to win ratio also is also equally notable at 72%.

However boxing is as subjective as subjective can be.  The numbers although helpful should be reviewed with  great care if the decision to be made for Magsayo is one that can make or break his career.

We have seen many Filipino boxers with remarkable records and who have given us equally thrilling performances suddenly fall off the radar after devastating losses when matched with world class competition: Rey Bautista, Abe Concepcion, AJ Banal and Drian Francisco just to name a few.

This begs the following questions:

  “Can Mark Magsayo become a world champion?”  The answer is a resounding yes.  His record is healthy and competitive. He has the power and the grit to take it to a higher level.

“Can he beat Oscar Valdez?”  Yes, but not in 2018.  If Valdez is the target then Magsayo and his team must prepare for the kind of boxer Valdez is.

“What should Magsayo do?”   The higher the target, the higher the risks, the bigger the heart.   His next two fights should be against boxers whose levels are higher than his last 5 opponents.    His team must be ready to challenge their ward with the best they can get to make him the best that he can be.

Then and only then, should Magsayo challenge for the belt.


*fight records from


Mike Ochosa is a boxing analyst for TV having called 12 of Pacquiao’s fights.  He has also worked as an international boxing analyst for Ringstar Promotions of Singapore.  He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and has had the privilege of managing and training several professional fighters.

Follow him on his FBpage,,  and his You Tube channel,,   on his Twitter account,

Matt Nieto – A Superstar in Waiting

Matt Nieto rose to the occasion given this environment.

MATT NIETO Ateneo- a superstar in waiting

Close to 5 years ago, when I was involved in a sports marketing company handling athlete management functions, I was introduced to the Nieto twins, Michael and Matthew.

They were highly recommended by Coach Jamike Jarin who was then head coach of the Batang Gilas  basketball program..  Though not big a name as Jolo Go, Andrei Caracut, Prince Rivero, Aljun Melecio and Thirdy Ravena,  Coach Jamike asked me to consider representing them.  He described the boys as responsible and hardworking and somehow he knew that the boys had a huge future in the game of basketball.

Admittedly, the other players were more sought after.  Their statistics and athleticism were outstanding and most were obviously headed to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).   However, I valued Coach Jarin’s recommendation enough to scout the two Ateneo players.

At first glance, both boys were not specially gifted as athletes.  One had to watch them several times to truly appreciate their potential.

Matthew, then was playing under the shadow of his brother Michael when they were playing for their high school team.  The latter was a dominating big forward and center and was aptly given the monicker, “Big Mike”.  Matthew was trying to find his place in the team competing for playing time for the 1-2 guard position.

Matthew was not particularly flashy nor did he have a mean jump shot.    He was a play maker looking to pass first than to shoot.    He had however a relaxed demeanor while playing obviously confident about his ball handling skills.

I did eventually sign them up because of two reasons:  both boys were above average and were posting consistent numbers, Traits that a coach would definitely consider when filling up his roster.   The second reason was more a marketing one.  There will be a brother story somewhere somehow in the future, I thought.

I kept them close and tried to follow their careers up to their rookie years in Ateneo University.

There were times that we had discussion which  revolved around the idea that each of them will get their time to shine, that they cannot always expect to do well at the same time.  What was remarkable was that each boy was willing to play support for the other when it is called for.

Mike, who was born 1 minute before Matt, had his time in high school.  But as it turns out, Season 80 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP)  seniors basketball tournament was Matthew’s time.

Unfortunately, I had to let them go early in 2015.  I do remember one of the things I suggested to Matt as we were saying our goodbyes.  I simply said that he had to start shooting the ball.  An advice any decent basketball enthusiast would give to a developing point guard.

At that time, Girlie Nieto, their mom intimated to me that Coach Tab Baldwin spoke to Matthew and told him that he will soon be his starting point guard.   The Ateneo team then was in the process of rebuilding as the superstars of the 5-peat series were slowly graduating.    It was a perfect situation for Matt.  What he would do with it would definitely define his basketball future.

Fast forward to last Sunday, December 3,   Matthew Nieto led the Blue Eagles to a championship beating erstwhile rival and defending champion De la Salle University.   Matt was making shots, shooting  threes successfully while directing play for Ateneo.

Ateneo was playing like a well-oiled machine, going back to basics when they found themselves in trouble.  Watching closely will reveal that the players  “restart” their offensive motions when DLSU somehow disrupts their flow.  Several strong penetrations with double picks behind the basket were executed perfectly, a play that the boys from Katipunan kept going to.

Ateneo had no superstar nor were they made up of marquee players .  The system was however running smoothly allowing all to contribute.  Matt Nieto rose to the occasion given this environment.

He was reportedly shooting 44 % from the field a vast improvement from the past seasons where he was shooting below 40%.    He was making clutch 3 pointers and converting all important free throws.

More than that, his demeanor remained the same, a trait which I saw when I first saw him play.  Despite the elbow he took from Mbala in a previous game, Matthew never showed any emotion and instead went ahead doing what was expected of him.

A post series interview quoted Matt Nieto as saying that the summer extra practices truly paid off.  Sowing hardwork truly reaps good results.

I guess both Coach Jamike and Tab are both beaming knowing that they were right about this young basketball player… a superstar in waiting.


Contributed/ Written by:

Mike Ochosa was  President of Viva Sports Management. He is a sports analyst for television and a freelance sports writer.  He is an international boxing analyst for Ringstar Promotions of Singapore and has called 12 of Pacquiao’s fights at ringside for local Philippine TV.  

Follow him on his FBpage:,  and his You Tube channel,,   on his Twitter account, 

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