Mark Anthony Barriga engaged into a toe-to-toe battle with David Ayrapetyan but in the end, it was the Filipino who came out victorious as he defeated his Russian foe, 10-9, to capture his second consecutive gold medal in the yearly Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament held at the Universal Uzbekistan Sports Complex in Tashkent.
In a battle of two London Olympic qualifiers, Barriga was able to win the battle for the light flyweight gold in the third and last round sneaking out a 10-9 decision after the first and second round ended with a score of 3-3 and 6-6 respectively.
Reports coming out of Tashkent bared that Barriga scored on quick counterpunches and was able to arrest the power punching ways of his two-time European champion and 2011 World Championship silver winner foe.
ABAP executive director and delegation head Ed Picson said that it was an entertaining bout that he hopes to see in the London Olympics.
“It was a great fight between two determined and smart fighters,” Picson said. “It would be nice to see how the two would fare in London and if they can have another showdown in the finals. It will surely be entertaining and exciting.”
Picson also said that the Filipino boxers gained invaluable experience going up against some of the best fighters in the world.
“We’re the only non-Central Asian country here. We dared into the lion’s den, so to speak, and we took a big risk, but it paid off. As ABAP president Ricky Vargas promised, we will let our boys have the best training, the widest experience and the proper tools available to us in order to get the optimal performance from our boxers.”
The PLDT-ABAP boxing team’s campaign in Tashkent coached by Ronald Chavez and Roel Velasco also saw Ian Clark Bautista settling for a bronze medal in the flyweight division.
International referee-judge Victorio Policarpio also got the nod of organizers as he was named the Best Referee among 32 officials.