Relaxed and focused, Barriga eyes 9th win
For 2012 London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, facing Colombia’s Gabriel Mendoza doesn’t have the feel of what it was like when he saw action in Olympics many years ago.
Now, Barriga feels he is more focused and relaxed when he deals with Mendoza in their 12-round minimumweight main event today at the at the SM Skydome in Quezon City.
“Sa pros, chill lang. Hindi masyado mahigpit,” said Barriga at the end of his weigh-in with Mendoza yesterday at the TV5 studios in Mandaluyong.
Their fight is an International Boxing Federation title eliminator, with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger to Japan’s Hiroto Kyoguchi, the reigning IBF 105-lb. champion.
Going to the London Olympics and fighting as an amateur was pressure-packed back then.
“Iyung pressure niya (Olympics) iba, kasi lahat ng tao sa mundo, sinusubaybayan ka,” said Barriga, whose fight with Mendoza is the main event of “Survival Instinct: Matira Matibay,” which features an explosive 13-bout, all-day boxing card.
Barriga is coming into the Mendoza fight boasting of an 8-0 card, with one won via knockout.
The more experienced Mendoza has a 29-5-2 win-draw-loss record, with 23 won by KO.
Both fighters met the weight limit and checked in at 104 pounds.
Mendoza said he cherishes the opportunity to fight an Olympian, a chance to move into a world title fight.
“Praise God I am here. I have faith that this is a great chance when I fight Mark. And it could mean a fight for the world title,” said Mendoza through his translator Carlos Costa.
Supporting the main event of this card presented by MP Promotions and Knuckleheads Pro Boxing Fraternity, in cooperation with Joven Sports Promotions will be a 10-round tussle between AJ “Bazooka” Banal (35-2-1, 23 KOs) and Master Suro (12-13-1, 2 KOs) of Indonesia. Banal is looking to inject life into his career after joining the Survival Camp of coach Joven Jimenez.
Also eyeing a successful return is Marvin Sonsona (21-1-1, 15 KOs).
The former world WBO champion Sonsona is coming out of a three-year hiatus to figure in a six-round fight against Arief Blader (23-27-2, 8 KOs) of Indonesia.
Another fighter to watch out for is recent world featherweight title challenger Genesis Servania, who pushed WBO titlist Oscar Valdez to the limit in his decision loss last September.
The 26-year-old Servania (30-1, 12 KOs) is making his first fight appearance in the Philippines since 2015 opposite Indonesia’s Jason Butar Butar (27-23-1, 18 KOs) in an 8-round bout.
Among the other undercard are Samuel Salva, James Eternina and Jerald Paclar.
All other bouts will air live on either ESPN5 or AksyonTV, with livestream on ESPN5.com.