PROVING himself very deserving of a shot at the International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimum weight title following an impressive win on May 13 in his headlining fight at “Survival Instinct,” Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga expressed his readiness to take the next challenge and cultivate further what has been a flourishing professional career.
Head and shoulders above Colombian Gabriel Mendoza in their IBF minimum weight title eliminator that went the full 12 rounds at the SM North Skydome on Sunday, 22-year-old Barriga positioned himself as the mandatory challenger for the belt currently held by Japanese Hiroto Kyoguchi.
Making full use of his speed and displaying solid marksmanship all throughout the fight, Mr. Barriga pretty much had his way against his opponent en route to the dominating 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 unanimous decision win.
The victory stretched the 2012 London Olympics campaigner’s pro record to 9-0, something he is very thankful for and angling to further building on.
“First of all, I would like to thank God for making this possible and all my supporters who were with me in the lead-up to this fight,” an appreciative Barriga shared to members of the media after his fight.
“Regarding the title shot, me and my team are always ready. We will work hard in training as we await our shot,” added Mr. Barriga.
Interestingly, Davao native Barriga could well face compatriot Vince Paras for the IBF minimum weight title if the latter wins his fight against Mr. Kyoguchi on May 20 in Japan.
IN LINE WITH THE GAME PLAN
Speaking on his overwhelming conquest of Mr. Mendoza at Survival Instinct, Mr. Barriga said it was a direct result of their team sticking to its game plan.
“Coach Joven [Jimenez at Survival Camp] kept reminding me not to forget about the jab because it was one way to disrupt his (Mendoza) attack. And we kept on doing it and it paid off well for us,” Mr. Barriga said.
The Filipino fighter shared further that he was hoping to get the stoppage against Mr. Mendoza but knew he had to be smart and guard himself from being too overzealous, which could have led to disaster.
“I was hoping for a knockout, of course, but I had to deal with what was given to me and stay patience and not get overzealous. What was important was we got the win,” he said.
Also victorious at Survival Instinct were former world champion Marvin Sonsona, AJ Banal and Genesis Servania.
Survival Instinct was organized by Joven Sports Promotions and was part of ESPN5’s “Live Boxing Month” fare. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo