• Barriga notches second victory as pro

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    Mark Anthony Barriga (right) competes against Tosho Kashiwasaki (left) of Japan during the boxing preliminaries session 10 at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on September 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO

    Mark Anthony Barriga (right) competes against Tosho Kashiwasaki (left) of Japan during the boxing preliminaries session 10 at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on September 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO

    London 2012 Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga posted another victory as a professional boxer by beating Powell Balaba via unanimous decision in their eight-round light flyweight undercard bout late Friday at the Strike Coliseum in Bacoor, Cavite.

    Barriga, 23, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, relied on counter-punching prowess to best Balaba. He recorded his debut win as a pro in July by beating Melvin Manangguil in Cebu City also by unanimous decision.

    “I’m very happy now as a pro,” Barriga of Panabo Davao del Norte told The Manila Times on Saturday in a phone interview. “He (Balaba) is a good opponent despite his record. I’m very comfortable and confident fighting as a professional.”

    Balaba, from Baguio City, has a record of eight wins with five knockouts, 20 defeats and a draw.

    “My trainer told me not to worry of not scoring any knockout victory. I really need to develop first my power,” added Barriga. “What’s important is I have the speed and the timing. A knockout win will soon come and I don’t need to rush it.”

    Barriga’s trainer Joven Jimenez, also the trainer of International Boxing Federation world super flyweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas, said that there is a plan for his ward to move down from light flyweight to minimumweight, in his hunt for a world title.

    “Mark is comfortable at 106 pounds and we’re thinking of moving down to the minimumweight and get a world title shot soon. Maybe around seven to eight fights we will be able to get a world title shot. For regional title, maybe five more fights,” said Jimenez.

    In the main event, the fight between super flyweight fighters Ardin Diale (31-10-3 win-loss-draw with 15 knockouts) and Ryan Lumacad (11-0-2 record with six knockouts) ended in a draw.

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