Barriga ready for title fight against Puerto Rican champ Gonzales in Florida
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Olympian Mark Anthony “Da Baby Boy” Barriga is ready to slug it out against Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzales for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) world light flyweight title tomorrow, June 24 (June 25 Manila Time) at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
Barriga is a beacon of hope for Filipino boxing fans to become somehow the newest addition to the dwindling numbers of Filipino boxing world champions.
With the defeat of four-division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. against Naoya Inoue earlier this month, the Philippines is now left with only two world champions.
They are WBC world featherweight champion Mark Magsayo and IBF world minimumweight champion Rene Mark Cuarto. Both have crucial title defenses next month abroad.
The 29-year-old Barriga, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, will try to dethrone the heavily-favored defending champion in Gonzales of Puerto Rico.
During the official weigh-in on Thursday (Friday Manila Time), Barriga tapped the scales at 106.4 pounds, while Gonzales weighed in at 107.7lbs.
It will be the 31-year-old Gonzales’s first title defense after winning it against Elwin Soto last year.
In a video posted on Barriga’s Facebook page, he told the interviewer that he felt good and excited about tomorrow’s bout.
“I feel good, I feel excited, I came a long way coming here to prepare for this fight and I feel good with my weight and I’m ready for the fight,” said Barriga.
Barriga also confidently answered the interviewer that he did not feel any pressure or worry about the predominantly Latino audience, particularly Puerto Ricans watching the bout.
“For me it’s nothing, it’s only me and Bomba (Gonzales) (who) are inside the ring. So, we will (not know) what’s going to happen inside the ring, but I’m so happy and blessed to be here. There are a lot of people watching this fight, a lot of Puerto Ricans watching this fight, but who cares? It’s only me and Bomba (Gonzales) (who) are inside the ring. I’m proud and blessed to be here and fight,” said Barriga.
Barriga of Panabo City, Davao del Norte, fell short in his first world title bid. He lost to Carlos Licona for the vacant IBF world minimumweight title in 2018 via split decision in Los Angeles, California.
After that bout, he took a two-year hiatus and returned in 2021, beating fellow Filipinos in Junuel Lacar in Mandaue City via stoppage. He won against Ramel Antaran in the same year in General Santos City by unanimous decision.
On the other hand, Gonzales has been smooth sailing in the light flyweight division, nearly three years after his loss to Kosei Tanaka for the WBO world flyweight title.
Barriga sports a record of 11 wins with 2 knockouts and 1 defeat, while Gonzales has the more experienced record of 25-3-1 (win-loss-draw) with 14 knockouts.
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