Earlier today the good folks over at @phboxingcorner reported the news that talented Filipino fighter Mark Anthony Barriga (11-1, 2) would be getting his second world title shot on June 24th as he takes on WBO Light Flyweight champion Jonathan Gonzalez (25-3-1-1, 14), in what will be Gonzalez's first defense of the belt.
The talented champion, dubbed "Bomba", upset the much fancied Elwin Soto last October to claim the title in what was a career defining victory for him. It was Gonzalez finally putting together a performance that many knew he had in him, given his stellar amateur pedigree. The bout saw him make the heavy handed Soto look crude, wild and flawed, with Gonzalez out boxing him to a split decision. Notably that was his second shot at a world title, after having previously come up short against Kosei Tanaka, who stopped him in 7 rounds in 2019.
Aged 31 it's hard to know what Gonzalez has left in the tank, though the Soto performance was, mentioned, his best so far, and was very much a mature performance from a fighter who seemingly has gotten better with age.
As for Barriga, the highly skilled Filipino had long been tipped as a top Filipino hopeful, despite lacking power, with skills reminiscent of an Ivan Calderon or a smaller, lighter punching, Floyd Mayweather Jr. He won his first 9 bouts, including dominant decision wins over Samartlek Kokietgym and Gabriel Mendoza, but came up short in an IBF Minimumweight title bout in 2018, against Carlos Licona. Following that loss Barriga was away from the ring for over 2 years, but picked up two low key wins wins in 2021, and will now feel he's shaken off the ring rust ahead of this huge opportunity.
The bout hasn't had it's venue announced, though it is set to take place in Florida
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU,PHILIPPINES-Former world title contenders Mark Anthony Barriga and Arthur Villanueva both returned to the win column after long lay-offs.
Barriga had trouble early on against Junuel Lacar. But Barriga showed his old elusive form in the third and fourth rounds. But,much to the surprise of everyone, including the Powcast live broadcast commentators, an apparently tired Lacar decided to call it quits after the fourth round.
Barriga, a former Olympian, has not seen action for two years and three months. In his last outing, he lost in his bid to win the vacant IBF world minimumweight title by split decision against Mexican Carlos Licona in Los Angeles.
Arthur Villanueva got a hard fought six round unanimous decision against Bryan Tamayo. The action was briefly interrupted when Tamayo was cut by an accidental headbutt above the right eyebrow in the second.
Scores-59-55 from judges Romar Embodo,Edgar Olalo and Noel Flores.
Villanueva has been inactive for a year and eight months. He lost in his last fight by sixth round stoppage to Nordine Oubaali of France in his bid to take the WBC world bantamweight title. Villanueva has also lost world title shots against Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo and South African Zolani Tete.
Villanueva is now 33-4-1,18KO’s. Barriga is 10-1,2KO’s.
In the main bout of Kumbati 9,Pete Apolinar earned a unanimous decision against Juanito Paredes. The scores- 99-91 from judges Romar Embodo and Noel Flores, 98-92 from Edgar Olalo.
In a battle between unbeaten prospects, Carlo Bacaro got a unanimous decision against Allan Villanueva after eight competitive rounds. Scores- Edgar Olalo and Noel Flores had it 78-74,Nic Banal-79-73.
Bacaro is now 8-0,6KO’s, Villanueva drops to 11-1,8KO’s.
Benny Cañete got a unanimous verdict against Reycar Auxilo.
KUMBATI 8 was held during the afternoon with four bouts.
Mark Vicelles knocked out Richard Rosales with a left uppercut to the midsection in the fourth round.
Tomjune Mangubat stopped Ryan Maano after four rounds. Maano was knocked down in the third and after receiving heavy punishment in the fourth, decided not to answer the bell for round five.
Reggie Suganob beat Paulo Sy by TKO after the fight was stopped after Sy had excessive bleeding from the nose due to a legal blow.
Rodel Suganob vs.Luiz Borjie ended in a majority draw.
Kumbati 8 and 9 were held Saturday behind closed doors at the IPI Compound in Mandaue City,Cebu. The event was presented by Omega Sports Promotions.
Earlier today our good friend Ian Melodillar informed us of an Omega Sports and MTK Global show set to take place in the Philippines in December featuring a number of notable Filipino hopefuls. The card lacks a major international name, but hardcore fans of the Filipino seen will see some really interesting fighter lined up for the show, which looks set to be split into 2 parts.
The first part of the card looks set to be the more star studded and interesting part. It features the exciting and world ranked Albert Pagara (31-1, 23) taking on the often under-rated Virgil Puton (18-14-2, 9). Pagara, who is now ranked #7 by the WBO at Super Bantamweight, will be looking for a 7th straight win since a 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez and will be hoping to begin climbing back up the WBO rankings once again. As for Puton he'll be looking to show there is still life in his 31 year old legs after a 1-10-2 (1) stretch of his career. He was once a very serviceable journeyman but has taken a lot of punishment in recent years.
Another notable name on this part of the card is former world title challenger Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1) who is seemingly up against 21 year old Ricky Delos Santos (2-1). The excellent Barriga is one of the most talented Filipino fighters out there, though he does lack power, and is very much all about his skills, with little in terms of power or strength from the slippery Pinoy. He's sadly not fought since losing in an IBF Minimumweight title bout back in 2018 to Carlos Licona, so we can under-stand him having an easy returns after 24 months out of the ring. Even then Santos might be a little bit too easy for the former world title contender.
One other name to watch on this part of the show is 23 year old Flyweight Regie Suganob (4-0, 1), who battles Robert Ates (4-7, 2). Suganob is, on paper taking a step up in class here.
Although it feels like the name value is on the first part of the event the second part is certainly boasting some decent it's self. This included the very talented Peter Apolinar (12-1, 8), who battles Danny Tampipi (9-11-2, 5), and a genuinely mouth watering bout between Christian Araneta (18-1, 14) and Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8), which could be a sensational war. Araneta will be looking for his second win since a technical decision loss to Daniel Valladares in September 2019 whilst Biendima will be looking to bounce back from a thrilling decision loss to Kenta Hatanaka.
Later today talented Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) will take on American Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) to crown a new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight, with no problem at all, even though they were fighting at just 105lbs. And are on a card littered with Heavyweight behemoths.
Barriga came in at just 103.6lbs, well under the limit, but looked in good shape, very confident and like a man who feels he has a huge opportunity to shine on one of the biggest stages of the year. That confidence comes not only from his strong amateur pedigree but also from his professional performances so far and a strong, well knit team that are around him.
Licona, who looked the much bigger man when they stood together, was 104.8lbs, himself comfortably under the divisional limit. Licona, and his team, appears to have scouted Barriga well and are aware of the traits that the Filipino has but the same can't be said the other way around, with footage of Licona being hard to come by, and Barriga opting not to watch opponents before facing them.
Related - Barriga looks to announce himself on world stage, faces Licona for IBF title
(Image courtesy of Dan Jung/ESPN)
This coming Saturday we'll see exceptionally talented Filipino Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) take on American Carlos Licona (13-0, 2) in a bout for the vacant IBF Minimumweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Hiroto Kyoguchi. The match up looks likely to be a highly technical affair between two of the more purely skilled little men in the sport, and despite having "12 round decision" written all over it, it does look almost certain to be a show case of boxing brains, skills, speed and technique.
Interestingly the UK bookies have priced up the bout, at least in terms of the "To Win" market, and have made Barriga the slight favourite for the contest.
The 25 year old Filipino, who is making his US debut, has been priced at 8/13 across multiple betting companies in the UK. Licona on the other hand is the under-dog, and has been priced at 13/10 with one book makers, and 5/4 with others. As for the draw, that's available at 18/1.
It should be noted that these odds are accurate at time of writing and are subject to change, especially with the weigh in taking place later today.
Related - Barriga looks to announce himself on world stage, faces Licona for IBF title
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