Just moments ago fight fans around the world were able to see unbeaten Filipino sensation Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) put on a masterclass of boxing to dominate hard hitting Colombian Gabriel Mendoza (29-6-2, 23) and become the IBF mandatory challenger at Minimumweight.
From the first round it was clear that Barriga was several levels above the Colombian, who had fought for a world title only a year ago and it never really changed as Barriga controlled round after round with his excellent movement, counter punching. The Colombian struggled to ever connect cleanly and instead he was being tagged by regular counters, jabs and combinations.
The one saving grace for Mendoza was his toughness, and despite being stung a few times he never looked like he was going to be stopped. It was possible that Mendoza's survival had a lot to do with Barriga's relative lack of power, but it scarcely mattered with the Colombian looking gun shy for the most part, knowing that he was going to be tagged as and when he let his own hands go. With Mendoza throwing less as the bout went on Barriga went on the offensive more, and left Mendoza with a swollen right eye.
At the end of the contest there was no doubting the winner, with Barriga taking the decisions thanks to scores of 120-108, twice, and 119-109, with one judge managing to find a sympathy round for Mendoza.
With this win Barriga will likely face either Hiroto Kyoguchi or Vince Paras, who fight later this month in an IBF world title fight.
On the under-card of the show, which was an incredibly long one, fans saw former WBO Super Flyweight champion Marvin Sonsona (21-1-1, 15) out point Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8) in what was a dreary performance from both men, Genesis Servania (31-1, 14) score a stoppage over Jason Butar Butar (27-24-1, 18), with a brutal body shot, a wide US win for AJ Banal (36-2-1, 23), who easily out pointed Master Suro (12-14-1, 2) in what was a dire bout.
One of the most naturally gifted Filipino fighters in recent memory has been Marvin Sonsona (20-1-1, 15), a former WBO Super Flyweight champion and a man with the gifts to go to become a generational talent in the Philippines. Sadly those gifts were partnered with one of the most unprofessional mentalities of any fighter in the sport, with the Filipino partying, leaving training camps, and sometimes just not turning up where his team wetre expecting him. Instead becoming one of the modern day Filipino greats Sonsona has become one of the biggest "could have beens" in the sport.
Tomorrow Sonsona will be facing off with with Indonesian journeyman Arief Blader (23-27-2, 8) in a bout that was contracted around the Light Welterweight limit.
Sadly, though not for the first time, Sonsona failed to make the contracted weight and as a result will be wearing 12oz gloves rather than the 10oz ones that Blader will wear.
Given that Sonsona began his career at Flyweight, made his name at Super Flyweight and scored great wins at Featherweight against former world champions Akifumi Shimoda and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, there really has to be questions at to why he was even at Light Welterweight for this bout, never mind missing the limit.
It should be noted that this is Sonsona's first bout since June 2015, when he defeated Jonathan Arrellano by majority decision. Despite the break from the ring perhaps accounting for a move up in weight the fact he has moved up several divisions and still failed to come in on weight really does leave questions to be asked of Sonsona, once again, and leaves us wondering why anyone in boxing associates themselves with him give his consistent lack of professionalism.
Marvin Sonsona continues being Marvin Sonsona, throws away fight with Gary Russell Jr
To call Filipino fighter Marvin Sonsona (20-1-1, 15) an enigma is like calling the great wall of China "big". It states the obvious but yet doesn't do credit to just how honest the statement really is.
Sonsona's enigmatic, and self destructive, ways were in force again recently when he essentially threw away a chance to become a 2-weight world champion.
The 25 year old had been lined up to fight WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (26-1, 15) in October though stupidly Sonsona failed to begin a training camp and his team have canned the bout for him.
His team, including Sammy Gello-ani, have seemingly lost patience waiting and have told the match maker to find a replacement for the Filipino fighter. They have also, basically, told him they are done chasing him to try and get him into a training camp and it seems clear that if Sonsona isn't going to be bothered about his career neither will they.
Sadly for Filipino fans it looks, once again, as if Sonsona's lack of desire to be full time fighter has let them down once again. Thankfully this time it seems that those around him have also washed their hands with him, almost in acceptance that they can't make Sonsona buckle down and really make the most of his exceptional natural talent.
Talented yet frustrating is generally an apt description of Filipino fighter "Marvelous" Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15). At his best Sonsona is a joy to watch with blistering hand speed, explosive power, frightening natural ability and all the tools to become a star. At his worst however Sonsonsa is nightmare for fans and trainers alike. He has been known to vanish for weeks, miss training sessions and cruiser through fights when he has been given the opportunity to shine.
No matter what Sonsona does inside the ring he will always have fans behind him due to his ability and, when he's in the mood, the excitement he brings in the ring.
Now however Sonsona may find his detractors grow after aligning himself with two controversial figures in the boxing world.
One of those is "advisor" Al Haymon who seems set to snap up Sonsona and add him to his ever increasing stable of fighters. Amazingly Sonsona would become Haymon's first Filipino fighter and what signing he would be for the powerful and secretive American.
The other is a much more controversial alignment which seems to have seen Sonsona begin work with the highly questionable Angel "Memo" Heredia.
Heredia, a strength and conditioning coach from Mexico, famously worked with Juan Manuel Marquez prior to Marquez's KO victory over Manny Pacquiao though is best known for his history with doping and was once one of the key figures in the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED's) in sport. This move, more so than the Haymon one at least, could see a backlash against Sonsona from both fellow Filipino's and fans who question the methods of Heredia who's murky past will forever cast a shadow over both him and those he works with.
(Image courtesy of Sumio Yamada)
We have been informed that baby faced Filipino"Marvellous" Marvin Sonsona (19-1-1, 15) will likely be returning to the ring in December to take on Puerto Rico's unbeaten Jayson Velez (22-0, 16). The bout will be the first defence of the NABF Featherweight title that Sonsona won by defeating Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in their rematch earlier this year. Not only is it defence of the NABF title but the bout is also seen as being a world title eliminator with the winner to face Jhonny Gonzalez in a mandatory title fight.
For Sonsona this will be his third fight this year having beaten both Vazquez and, more impressively, Akifumi Shimoda. As for Velez it will be his second fight of the year following his win, in April, against Miguel Soto. In fact for Velez this will be just his third fight in 2 years after serious issues with inactivity have put the brakes on his once fast rising career.
At the moment no specific date or venue has been set though we're hoping to get more details in coming weeks as this looks like an absolute barn burner. Despite many feeling that Sonsona is "boring" following his second bout with Vazquez Jr he's actually a very exciting fighter usually and we're expecting to see the exciting side of him if, as speculated, this fight does come off as hoped.
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