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Barriga beats Colombian

MARK Anthony Barriga connects with a left against Colombian Gabriel Mendoza during their 12-round bout Sunday night at the SM North’s Skydome in Quezon City. Barriga scored a unanimous decision. (MB photo | Czar Dancel)

MARK Anthony Barriga connects with a left against Colombian Gabriel Mendoza during their 12-round bout Sunday night at the SM North’s Skydome in Quezon City. Barriga scored a unanimous decision. (MB photo | Czar Dancel)

By DENNIS PRINCIPE

Sunday night’s fight promotion at SM North’s Skydome in Quezon City was billed “Survival Instinct” which, in looking at the supposed marquee bouts, may also be aptly called The Resurrection card.

But main eventer Mark Anthony Barriga, while still in the process of regaining his lost luster of his 2012 Olympic stint, proved his readiness to become an elite prizefighter when he dominated two-time world title challenger Gabriel Mendoza of Colombia in their 12-round title eliminator.

The 24-year-old Barriga befuddled his Colombian foe by darting in and out of his opponent’s range on his way to scoring a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision win in a near-sellout venue that can accommodate a maximum of 1,500 people.

Scores of the bout were 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109 all for the Panabo City-native campaigner.

“I felt his power and that made me become more conscious in terms of avoiding his punches. It was a great learning experience for me and this will make me ready to fight for a world title,” said Barriga. “I still have a lot to learn but I have enough time to prepare for my next fight and hopefully it will be for the world crown.”

The 38-year-old Mendoza, who has stopped 23 opponents in scoring 26 victories, said Barriga’s superb ring movement made it difficult for him to land a haymaker.

“He moved really well and that will make it tough for other opponents to beat him,” said Mendoza thru interpreter and well-traveled photojournalist Carlos Costa.

Barriga (9-0, 1 knockout) feels his latest fight has helped him to totally adjust to the professional way of fighting after almost a decade of becoming the country’s top Olympic bet in the lightflyweight class.

“I still have to work on my power but I am confident, with the help of coach Joven (Jimenez), I can improve on it,” said Barriga.

Barriga will now wait for the winner between defending IBF minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi of Japan and Filipino challenger Vince Paras as the two are set to square off on May 20 in Tokyo.

Meantime, former WBO superflyweight champion Marvin Sonsona ended his three-year hiatus by scoring a dull six-round decision win over Arief Blader of Indonesia.

While many were not impressed with the performance of the 27-year-old Sonsona (21-1-1, 15 KOs) who came in six pounds over their agreed limit of 141lbs, his former trainer and bosom buddy Jhun Agrabio was happy in a lot of ways in seeing his former ward back in the ring.

“What’s important is he’s back in action. It’s all up to him now that he is being given another opportunity,” said Agrabio at ringside.

Also scoring a win was AJ “Bazooka” Banal, the former two-time world title challenger who is hoping to get a third crack at a world crown, this time in the tough featherweight division.

The 29-year-old Banal (36-2-1, 23 KOs) struggled mightily in trying to finish off a seemingly faded 38-year-old journeyman Master Suro of Indonesia who lost his last four fights before facing the Cebuano boxer.

Banal though won every round of their 10-round encounter set at 131lbs en route to a shutout victory.

“After this win I can now move down to 126lbs which I feel is my ideal weight,” said Banal who twice fought and lost for the world superflyweight and bantamweight crowns.

In another attraction, one-time world title challenger and Japan-based Genesis Servania made a successful homecoming when he stopped Jason Butar-Butar also of Indonesia in the 5th round of their eight-round match.

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