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Mark Anthony Barriga raring to prove he’s more than just a ‘former Olympian’

Mark Anthony Barriga raring to prove he’s more than just a ‘former Olympian’

Minimumweight Mark Anthony Barriga looks to make the transition from an Olympian to a champion in boxing.

Barriga (6-0, 1KO), who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, will head to his first title fight as a professional, facing Wittawas Basapean (33-6) for the vacant WBO International minimumweight title in Beijing, China, tonight.

And after just a year, he takes his first step to finish what he started in the amateurs — and add a championship to his name.

“As Mark Anthony Barriga, gusto ko pong maipakita sa mga tao na may sariling istilo ako. Kahit maliit ako, may sarili akong istilo,” a motivated Barriga told with Tiebreaker Times. “Kahit ba hindi ako yung tipong knockout puncher, nandun pa rin yung talent ko the way kung paano ko i-domina yung mga kalaban ko.

“Kahit na mahirap yung kalaban, nakaka-adjust ako agad at nagagawan ko ng paraan para hindi ako mag-struggle sa laban.”

In a sport that is ruled by men of power, the 24-year-old believes it takes more than that to become successful in the ring. With that, he is confident that he has the edge over the top-tier pugilists in his division.

“Para sa akin, yung boxing ay hindi lang po sa malakas. Hindi lang po para sa mabilis, para sa akin, it’s scientific.

“Kasi kahit gaano ka kalakas, kung ang laro ko is takbo-takbo, hindi ka makakatama sakin, sayang naman yung power mo. Mapapagod ka lang,” said the Davao del Norte-native, who worked tirelessly for his first 12-round fight in their home camp in Kawit, Cavite, along with IBF world champ Jerwin Ancajas. “Kung powerful ang kalaban ko, kelangan kumpleto din ang stamina o kasi kung hindi, ako din ang makakawawa. Mabubugbog ako sa ring. Hindi mo kailangan makipagpatayan para madomina ang laban.”

Barriga expects that he will have his hands full against the highly-experienced Basapean, who has once challenged Akira Yaegashi for the world title. But to him, he knows the opportunity given to him doesn’t come often, let alone this early.

With the trust given to him, he is determined to win his first professional title for the people who believe in him.

“Napakalaking opportunity to sakin dahil nga po kung tutuusin, grabe yung pinag-daanan nila Kuya Jerwin (Ancajas) at Kuya Drian (Francisco) para makalaban ng ‘big fights’ kaya natutuwa po ako na yung coach ko, yung teammates ko, dahil may tiwala sila sakin na kaya kong makipagsabayan sa kahit na kaninong boxer sa timbang ko,” Barriga added. “Ang gagawin ko nalang po as a boxer, magtitiwala din ako sa sarili ko na kaya ko ito at makinig sa mga payo nila.

“Big fight ito para sa akin at may mga nakasalalay, ayaw ko din naman na mapahiya. Susuklian ko ang mga tinulong nila sa akin.”

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