‘Little Pacquiao’s’ opponent struggles to make weight
MANILA, Philippines – Mark Anthony Barriga’s foe, Kazaksthan's Birzhan Zhakypov, is reportedly struggling to make the 49-kilogram limit ahead of their round of 16 fight in the London Olympics amateur boxing this Saturday.
According to Barriga’s coach, former Olympian Roel Velasco, this was evident during Zhakypov’s round of 32 fight against France’s Jeremy Beccu.
''Parang nagbabawas ng timbang. Ang daling hingalin doon sa unang laban,'' said Velasco in a press statement.
Despite the struggle, Zhakypov managed to eke out an 18-17 win over Beccu.
Barriga, in the other hand, has no problem with his weight.
The 5’2” Pinoy pug only weighs 48 kilos, which is why he could still enjoy heavy meals between fights.
Barriga said he remains stress-free regarding his weight and this allows him to continue to improve his conditioning.
''Pakiramdam ko mas maganda ang kundisyon ko ngayon keysa noong lumaban ako sa Italian (Manuel Cappai). Mas maganda ang pakiramdam ko,'' he said.
But Velasco pointed out that they will not take Zhakypov lightly.
''Trabaho pa rin. Mahirap nang mag-kumpiyansa,” he said.
Velasco, a bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said Barriga will attack the Kazakh’s weak point.
''I will ask him to go for the body, where Europeans are known to be weak,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Barriga drew praises from boxing coaches following his impressive 17-7 win against Cappai in the round of 32.
Cuba’s Raul Liranza, former Philippine national team coach, said the Filipino boxer looked remarkable against the Italian.
“He’s good. Very strong. Good counter-puncher,” said Liranza.
Panamanian boxing coach Jose Lara also congratulated Barriga.
''You (Barriga) are quick and talented. You can beat him (Zhakypov),'' said Lara, a former Olympian himself.
Lara said Zhakypov was lucky to have won in the round of 32.
“He was lucky he hit a couple of good punches in the closing minute.'' – With a report from The Philippine Star