Filipino boxers

Villanueva, Barriga hurdle foes in Kumbati 9 card in Mandaue

Roy Luarca

BACK IN ACTION. Mark Barriga shows newfound power with a stoppage win.

Photo by Alvin S. Go/Rappler

Arthur Villanueva and Mark Barriga both post convincing victories in the Kumbati 9 event

Former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva and former Olympian Mark Barriga shook off ring rust to beat their opponents in Kumbati 9 on Saturday, March 27 at the IPI Compound in Mandaue City, Cebu.

Villanueva found lanky and rangy Bryan Tamayo tough to crack and settled for a unanimous decision in their six-round super bantamweight encounter.

Barriga, who reached the second round of the 2012 London Olympics boxing competition, showed newfound power and stopped Junuel Lacar in the fourth round.

The 32-year-old Villanueva, who challenged but yielded to Nordine Oubaali in their battle for the World Boxing Council crown in Astana, Kazakhstan in July 2019, used his vast experience to land more shots and earn the nod of all 3 judges by similar 59-55 scores.

The 27-year-old Barriga, touted as world champion prospect before he lost to Carlos Licona by split decision December 2018, climbed to 10-1 with two knockouts. Lacar dropped to 8-7-3.

Standing at 5-foot-5, Villanueva took the first 5 rounds before the 5-foot-8 Tamayo exploited his longer reach to sneak in punches and steal the sixth round.

Villanueva rose to 33-4-1 with 18 knockouts while Tamayo dropped to 6-2-2.

Held sans an audience, the card split into Kumbati 8 and 9 was staged by Omega Sports Promotions. –