Barriga battles Thai for vacant WBO international belt

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Former 2012 London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga will fight for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International minimum weight belt on Friday against Thai brawler Wittawas Basa­pean in Beijing, China.

Barriga, who is sporting an unbeaten 6-0 record with one knockout, said he is 100 percent ready for his first professional regional boxing title. At the same time, a victory by the Panabo Davao del Norte native will increase his stock for a future world title shot.

“This is a great opportunity so I have to do my best in this bout. So far, I feel my punches are getting stronger my speed is still there. I’m really satisfied with my training,” Barriga told The Manila Times in an interview. “We are just trying to catch up the weight (105 lbs limit).”

Basapean, at 32, is holding a 33-6 win-loss record with 12 knockouts. Despite losing twice in a world title bout against Japanese former IBF light flyweight belt Akira Yaegashi last December and Japanese Naoya Inoue two years ago, Barriga believes his Thai opponent remains dangerous.

“He (Basapean) is there to give me a good fight because he is a former world title challenger, so I have to be smart.”

Barriga, 24, leaves Manila for Beijing, China on Wednesday together with International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas. Barriga’s chief trainer Joven Jimenez and his corner were already in China since Monday.

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