2012 Olympic boxer Mark Anthony Barriga to turn pro in June
MANILA, Philippines - Mark Anthony Barriga, who was the lone Filipino boxer to compete at the 2012 Olympics, will make his professional debut on Friday, June 24 against Mark Anthony Florida (9-6, 7 knockouts) at the Philippine Navy Gym in Taguig City.
Barriga, 22, of Panabo, Davao del Norte, Philippines made it to the second round of the light flyweight division tournament in London before losing by one point to the Kazakh boxer.
Barriga was a gold medalist at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and a bronze medalist at the 2014 Asian Game, and made it to the third round of the 2011 AIBA World Championships, defeating two-time Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes before losing to two-time gold medalist Zou Shiming on points.
The slick southpaw had hoped to make a second straight trip to the Olympics but opted to turn pro after Rogen Ladon qualified for the Philippines in Barriga's weight class.
"So he'll have to wait so many more years and still it will be uncertain," Barriga's manager Jason Soong tells Rappler. "Going pro was the next choice he had."
The 5-foot-2 Barriga, a corporal in the Philippine Air Force, will fight in an 8-round bout in his minimumweight (105 pounds) debut, with his manager eyeing a fast track to the world title picture.
"We want to follow the other Olympian Vasyl Lomachenko," said Soong, referring to the Ukrainian amateur star who won the WBO featherweight title in his third pro fight. Barriga is being trained now by Joven Jimenez at Soong's training facility in Tanay, Rizal.
The main event will feature heavy-hitting junior bantamweight Aston Palicte (20-2, 17 KOs) of Bago City against Vergilio Silvano (21-6-1, 12 KOs) of Cebu City in a 12-round of their fight last November, which Palicte won by unanimous decision. Also in action will be junior bantamweight Lolito Sonsona (18-1-4, 8 KOs) of General Santos City making his return after two years of inactivity. – Rappler.com
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in date from June 18 to June 24.