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Barriga bids for WBO title


PhilBoxing.com



Mark Anthony Barriga.
London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga takes on WBO lightflyweight champion Jonathan (Bomba) Gonzalez of Puerto Rico in a scheduled 12-round title bout at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida, this morning (Manila time) with a promise to give it his all in his late mother Melita’s memory. It will be Barriga’s second attempt to claim a world crown, his first ending in a loss by split decision to Mexican Carlos Licona in Los Angeles in 2018.

Barriga, 29, took over 27 months off from the ring after the Licona bout then came back to post two wins last year. He hooked up with London-based athlete manager and lawyer Hinko Kostanvejec, a Slovenian-Australian, to revive his career. Kostanvejec brought Barriga to Slovenia twice to train with former IBF welterweight champion Jan Zaveck who was recently elected as member of the National Assembly. To prepare for Gonzalez, Barriga opened camp in Slovenia last February then moved to Florida last week. He has sparred over 80 rounds to get ready for his second title bid.

“Nakilala ko si Sir Hinko sa Kawit, Cavite,” says Barriga. “Siya yung dating owner ng Global Football Club. Ako lang ang boxer na hinahawakan niya at marami siyang interest sa ibang sports tulad ng motocross at football. Di makapunta si Jan sa laban kasi busy siya sa politika. Kasama ko si Kuya Sadam at ang cutman ni Marco Antonio Barrera, si Tony Rivera. Nag-invite ako ng mga Pinoy boxers training sa Miami, sina Mike Plania at John Moralde.”

Barriga is a +275 underdog and Gonzalez, the -350 favorite. But Barriga isn’t worried about the odds. “Halos pareho ang style namin,” he notes as both fighters are 5-2 southpaws. “Talo siya nina Jobert Alvarez, Kosei Tanaka at Giovanni Segura by KO. Magkasama kami ni Jobert dati sa national team. Sa first four rounds, pagaaralan ko kung paano ko siya lalabanan. ‘Di ako magpapasuntok at may lakas din si Gonzalez. Gagawin ko ang lahat upang manalo, all good tayo.” Barriga’s record is 11-1 with 2 KOs while Gonzalez’ mark is 25-3-1 with 14 KOs.

Barriga is dedicating the fight to his mother who passed away with a heart ailment two years ago. She was diagnosed with a hole in her heart in 2017 and progressively weakened. His father Edgar is retired and stays home in Panabo, cared for by the fighter. As the family breadwinner, Barriga knows losing isn’t an option.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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