Born in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 8, 1991, Jessie Magdaleno comes from an athletic family. Both his brothers boxed, and his father played professional soccer, which he also played as a youth. At seven years old, he decided to start training in boxing because his older brother, Diego, was doing it.
Magdaleno is right-handed but stands southpaw. He’s about as skilled with his left hand as his right, because he broke his right hand in the fourth grade and learned to write with his left. That dexterity has translated over to the boxing ring, as he has sharp punches that come from all angles.
Jessie Magdaleno had an impressive amateur career, with particularly strong performances at the 2009 U.S. National Championships and the 2009 National Golden Glove Championships. He took gold at both of those tournaments.
While he would have been a contender to win gold at the 2012 Olympics, he was disenchanted with all the judging issues that seemed to occur at every Olympics, so he instead decided to turn pro in 2010. He ended his amateur career with a record of 120-16.
His first fight was on November 6, 2010, two days before he turned 19. He took on Matthew Salazar and won by TKO in the first round. He looked like he had been shot out of a cannon, as he came out fast with flurries of punches to get the stoppage. It worked, but it wouldn’t in longer fights, and that’s why his trainer taught him how to slow down and pick his spots better. That whirlwind style may be successful in the amateurs, but not in the pros.
In his next fight, he was more measured and defeated Cain Garcia by a third-round TKO. Against Sergio Herrera, he picked up another first-round TKO.
For his next two fights, Magdaleno proved that he could go the distance, as he defeated Jonathan Alcantara and Esteban Nichol each by unanimous decision after six rounds. After an active 2011 and 2012, he got his first title shot to close out the year on December 6, 2012. He fought Jonathan Arrellano for the WBO NABO Youth super bantamweight title and picked up win by unanimous decision after eight rounds.
That was his first decision win after a streak of four straight victories by KO or TKO, with three of those coming in the first round. He then went on another streak of stoppages, picking up three in a row, although he was out of action from the middle of 2013 until early 2016. Still, his excellent performances earned him a shot at the WBO super bantamweight title.
That title fight was on November 5, 2016 against the highly skilled boxer Nonito Donaire. Jessie Magdaleno shocked many observers by coming out strong to open the fight, putting together an early lead. Being a five-division champion, Donaire fought back hard and even nearly picked up a stoppage in the 12th and final round. It wasn’t enough, though, as Magdaleno won the unanimous decision to pick up the belt and run his record to 24-0.