London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga stamped his class on 2011 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Ngoc Tan Huynh of Vietnam, pulling off a unanimous decision in the AIBA (International Boxing Association) World Elite Men’s Championships being held at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Sports in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Giving up at least three inches in height, the diminutive Barriga scored on crisp counter punches and solid left straights against the charging Vietnamese. Barriga also used his vaunted speed and footwork to defuse Ngoc’s reach advantage.
Barriga, however, faces a tougher foe in the next round, Yosvani Veitia Soto of Cuba, the number five seed in the tournament.
The 21-year-old Cuban champion lost to China’s vaunted light flyweight Zuo Shiming in the London Olympics but many there thought he was robbed of victory. Soto is a seasoned internationalist, having been a World Series of Boxing (WSB) campaigner and has won tournaments in Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Mexico and others.
“That’s ok. We both trained hard and I’ve seen him fight. I’ll just prepare well for him. I’m also in good shape,” said Barriga.
Valencia, Bukidnon’s Mario Fernandez enters the ring in the 56 kg bantamweight class at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Sports on Thursday against Guyana’s two-time national champion Imran Khan.
Earlier, 2011 SEA games gold medalist Dennis Galvan fell victim to a quick-punching boxer from Azerbaijan, Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev to crash out of the tournament.
Flywweight Roldan Boncales won his opening day assignment against Guatemalan Olympian Eddie Barillas on Monday.
Filipino coaches are Nolito and Roel Velasco and Ronald Chavez.