Barriga stays unbeaten, eyes regional title next month

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Former Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga sets his sights on his first regional belt after scoring a technical knockout win over fellow Filipino Marlou Sandoval in their minimumweight non-title bout in Dipolog City, Zamboanga last Sunday.

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Barriga, 23, who represented the country in the 2012 London Olympics as a light flyweight, was elated to notch his first KO win as a professional boxer that put him on track toward a regional title and eventually a world title.

“My punching power is what I really need to develop and I’m happy to show it last Sunday,” the unbeaten Barriga told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Thursday.

“As a former amateur boxer, I’m more into speed, timing and technical skills. I’m glad coach Joven (Jimenez) was able to work on my knockout capabilities,” he added.

For nailing his fifth straight win, Barriga could be given a shot at a regional title next month in minimumweight, his first step toward a world title fight possibly next year.

“I will stay here. I think moving to light flyweight won’t happen soon. I still need to learn a lot of things. All I can do now is train hard,” he said.

Jimenez said they are planning to put Barriga in a regional title bout in July against a still unnamed opponent.

“Mark is getting better and better every fight. We are planning to put him in a regional title fight in July,” said Jimenez. “If he wins that fight, he will move up in ratings and probably get a crack at a world title fight. But it won’t be easy.”

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