Mark Barriga gears up for world title bout in Los Angeles
MANILA, Philippines – Driven by his dream of becoming a world champion, Mark Anthony Barriga has gone into deep training at Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite.
The bemedaled amateur and London Olympian, is hitting the gym twice daily, early morning and late afternoon, in preparation for his International Boxing Federation minimumweight title fight against Mexican-American Carlos Licona early December.
He is also watching his food intake, which is being monitored by a dietitian.
No wonder, from a heavy 130 pounds in August, the 5-foot-2 Barriga is now down to 117, which is manageable considering the 12-rounder most likely to be held in Los Angeles is still 7 weeks away.
“Medyo nagbabawas na para sa darating na laban,” said the 25-year-old Barriga, whose progress is being monitored by chief trainer Joven Jimenez.
“Gym work ang concentration namin ngayon,” added Barriga, who has raised his sparring to 8 rounds against 3 partners. “Hindi na puro takbo, lalaro rin ako sa loob. Tingnan natin kung lalabas siya (Licona).”
(I started shedding off the pounds. We're concentrated on gym work now. We won't just run around, we'll be aggressive inside. We'll see if he'll back off.)
Unlike most boxers, Barriga doesn’t watch the fight tapes of his opponents. He lets his coach do the analysis and break down their fighting styles.
“Nakagawian ko na,” said Barriga. “Sa ring na lang ako naga-adjust."
(I got used to it. I just adjust inside the ring.)
With 9 straight wins, including 1 knockout, the unconventional system is obviously working for the stylist southpaw.
Barriga and the 23-year-old Licona, who’s also unscathed in 13 fights with 2 knockouts, will dispute the throne vacated by Japanese Hiroto Kyoguchi for 12 rounds.
Originally set October 14 in Manila, Barriga-Licona, which was arranged by international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, has reportedly been moved to December 1 as chief support to Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title defense against Tyson Fury.
“Maganda na ang kondisyon ni Mark," said Jimenez, who co-manages Barriga with IBF super flyweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas. “Seryoso na talaga sa training.”
(Mark is well conditioned. He's serious in training.)
Fact is, Barriga decided to forego a scheduled trip to Bangkok with Ancajas and Jimenez last week to watch Thai Srisaket Sor Runvisai defend his WBC super flyweight crown against Mexican Iran Diaz.
He’ll take a vacation only after he has accomplished his mission. – Rappler.com