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Gibbons guarantees Barriga IBF title crack

By Nick Giongco

London Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga has been advised to step on the gas as his much-awaited world title shot happens in December in the US, the Filipino stylist’s American matchmaker assured yesterday.

Barriga, a stablemate of world champion Jerwin Ancajas, has a 9-0 win-loss card with one knockout and is due to face 22-year-old Mexican-American Carlos Licona for the vacant International Boxing Federation minimumweight throne.

Sean Gibbons, the globetrotting Las Vegas boxing man, said the venue and exact date will be known within the next few days.

In fact, Gibbons is discussing plans for the 25-year-old Barriga in Bangkok this weekend with the arrival there of Joven Jimenez, who trains and manages Barriga and Ancajas.

Team Ancajas flew to Thailand to formally issue a challenge to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, regarded as the king of the 115-pounders.

Barriga, a southpaw, earned the right to figure in a world title crack after beating Gabriel Mendoza of Colombia last May.

Before turning pro in 2016, Barriga was the perennial entry of the country in international competitions, having won gold in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games and a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games apart from representing the Philippines in the 2012 London Olympics and 2011 world championships.