Mark Anthony Barriga, the lone Filipino medal hopeful in boxing, was paired with Manuel Cappai of Italy in the first round of action in the light-flyweight category of the London Olympic Games.
Barriga and Cappai will slug it out on July 31 after the official draw was held moments before the opening ceremonies.
Both fighters are just 19 years old but the Italian is taller by at least four inches at 5-foot-6.
Cappai is not among those being projected to make the medal round but the European is no pushover as he also gets pointers from his father Fabrizzio, who went on to fight for the world featherweight title against Manuel Medina of Mexico.
Interestingly, defending champion Zou Shiming drew a bye in the opening round and is likely to meet Cuban wonderboy Yosvany Soto in the second round, assuming the latter gets past Billy Ward of Australia.
It also appears that if Barriga eludes Cappai, he will have his hands full in the next rounds, as he will likely be in a collision course with the big guns like Shiming and even solid Kazakh bet Birzhan Zhakypov.
The Philippines is hoping to put an end to the monotony of losses in the quadrennial event.
Onyok Velasco went home with a silver from the 1996 Atlanta Games, the last Olympic medal for the Philippines.
Olympic boxing matches incuding Barriga’s first round bout will be aired over AKTV on July 31 beginning 11 p.m.
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