Filipino Olympian boxer Mark Anthony Barriga has finally earned a shot at the world title as a pro after the International Boxing Federation (IBF) ordered him and Mexican Carlos Rogelio Licona to dispute the vacant IBF minimumweight crown vacated by Japanese Hiroto Kyoguchi a few weeks ago.
Kyoguchi, after successfully defending his title against Filipino Vince Paras last May 20, decided to vacate his belt and move up to the light flyweight class.
“With the Help of ESPN5 and Joven Sports and MP Promotions, we look forward to making some aggressive moves to bring the IBF 105 world title to Manila,” international matchmaker Sean Gibbons told The Manila Times in an online interview.
Gibbons submitted a document to The Times, stating that the IBF wants the negotiations for the bout be completed before August 27.
“Bringing world title fights to the Philippines is one of the goals. Too many Filipino boxers have to challenge for the world title on the road and get bad treatment and bad decisions. It is time to bring world title fights to the Philippines.”
The Panabo, Davao Del Norte native Barriga, 25, became a world title challenger after his unanimous decision victory over Colombian Gabriel Mendoza last May 13 at the SM Skydome in North Edsa, Quezon City.
Licona is presently ranked No. 3.
Survival Camp trainer and promoter Joven Jimenez said they are eyeing to hold the fight on October 14, but they are still looking for a venue.
“Mark is undergoing training at the Survival Camp in Cavite. The duration of the preparation for the fight is fine to put his body is in good condition,” said Jimenez.
Prior to Barriga’s fight, his stablemate and IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas will defend his title on September 29 against a yet to be determined foe in Fresno, California.
Barriga holds an unblemished 9-0 record with a knockout while the 23-year-old Licona is likewise unbeaten in 13 fights highlighted by two knockout wins.
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