Mark Anthony Barriga is all set for his IBF junior flyweight world-title bout against Mexico’s Carlos Licona, which will take place in the undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles Saturday (Sunday morning, Manila time.)
Barriga is giving away a 2-inch height advantage against the 5-foot-4 Licona, but the Filipino Olympian said he’s already used to fight taller boxers.
“Sakto lang ang tangkad niya,” said the 25-year-old Danao city, Cebu native in an interview with ABS-CBN North America Nerws Bureau’s Steve Angeles.
“Pero hindi ina-underestimate na boxer at undefeated. Magaling.”
He easily made weight for the 12-rounder, tipping the scales at 103.6 pounds. Licona weighed in at 104.8 pounds. The junior flyweight limit is 105 pounds.
Both Barriga (9-0) and Licona (13-0) are sporting unbeaten records going into the bout.
Meanwhile, fight analyst Ed Tolentino said he prefers Barriga to stick to his strengths, particularly his crafty, counterpunching style.
He added that the former amateur standout need not be pressured going for a knockout win.
“Barriga is fully aware of the perception about him, that he had been so immersed in the amateur boxing style that he needs to be more entertaining as a pro. And by entertaining, we mean showing more pop in his punches. I think the knockout thing will come naturally, the moment he starts gaining more confidence,” said Tolentino.
“The key is for Barriga not to put too much pressure on himself. He is a boxer, that is his strength. Let the development of his KO power come along as he gains confidence.”
What is important, said Tolentino, is that Barriga will need to show the judges that he is the more active fighter.
“The more important aspect is for Barriga to be more aggressive. We do not want him to be too passive and settle on a counter punching mode. Licona will take the fight to him and we want Barriga to vary his offense,” he said.
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