By Nick Giongco
Pint-sized Filipino fighter Mark Barriga found himself running into 6-foot-9 former undisputed world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Monday in Los Angeles where they will both see action this Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) as part of a mega card at Staples Center.
Barriga, who stands only at 5-foot-2, meets Carlos Licona of the US for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight crown while Fury challenges Deontay Wilder for the world heavyweight title.
Barriga has been in Los Angeles since last week and a solid support crew is making sure he remains in fighting form in the runup to fight day.
Trainer-manager Joven Jimenez presides over Barriga’s training while lending a hand are strength coach Delfin Boholst, social media staffer Mark Lontayao, former amateur standout Charly Suarez and reigning IBF super-fly king Jerwin Ancajas.
The father-and-son tandem of Sean and Brendan Gibbons also handles the travel and housing arrangements of Team Barriga.
The southpaw Barriga (9-0 with 1 KO) will be making his US debut against the right-handed Licona (13-0 with 2 KOs).
Since turning professional more than two years ago, Barriga fought almost exclusively in the Philippines save for one instance when
he saw action in China in September 2017.
In securing a shot at the IBF 105-lb title this weekend, Barriga defeated Colombian Gabriel Mendoza in a title elimination duel last May.
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