Francisco, Barriga triumph

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Former World Boxing Association (WBA) interim bantamweight titleholder Drian “Golden Fist” Francisco and former 2012 London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga defeated their respective foes in the “Engkuwentro sa Makati” on Saturday night at the Makati Cinema Square in Pasong Tamo in Makati City.

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Francisco, 34, returned to the ring after one-year and three months of absence with a spectacular unanimous decision win over fellow Filipino Mateo Handig (13-13 record with seven knockouts) in the main event of their super bantamweight bout promoted by Joven Jimenez.

Francisco, who suffered a unanimous decision defeat to WBA Cuban bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux last November 2015, landed solid combinations throughout the match failed to score a knockout.

“I experienced fatigue on my legs because of our long trip from Lipa, Batangas to Makati,” said Francisco (29-4-1 win-loss-draw record with 22 knockouts) in Filipino. “The good thing is I was able to hold off my opponent through jabs. My stamina was still there despite the long break.”

“I will return to training next week to get ready for a bigger fight probably a regional title bout.”

Barriga, 23, trained only for two weeks prior to the fight but had no problem in disposing off Geboi Mansalayao via unanimous decision in their minimum weight battle. It was Barriga’s fourth consecutive victory as a professional boxer.

“It was a tough fight because I trained only for two weeks because of the cut over my right eye which I sustained during my fight last December. I’m glad I was able to survive,” said Barriga in Filipino. “I will work hard in developing my punching power.”

In other results, Daniel Lim (4-0 with two knockouts) defeated Johnny Canoy via unanimous decision in their lightweight bout while Junar Adante (7-6 record with four knockouts) beat Joepher Montano via technical knockout in their junior welterweight clash.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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