Barriga bags gold in Uzbekistan

() - May 13, 2012 - 12:00am

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – Olympic-bound Marc Anthony Barriga of the Philippines was at his best against David Ayrapetyan of Russia yesterday, and for the second straight year bagged the light-flyweight gold in the Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament.

Barriga, stalwart of the PLDT-ABAP national team, played it smart against his tough Russian foe, and landed the clearer blows in the final round for the razor-sharp 10-9 victory at the Universal Sports Complex here.

The bout was tied at 3-3 and 6-6 after the first two rounds, and in the third and final round it was just a matter of who landed the clearer punches.

Barriga, the 18-year-old from Panabo, Davao del Norte, scored mainly on counterpunches against the 29-year-old Russian, the European champion in 2010 and silver medalist in the World Championships last year.

He tried hard to lure Barriga in a toe-to-toe battle but the London-bound Filipino was too slippery, moving from side to side while throwing counterpunches that either landed or kept his opponent at bay.

Barriga was the underdog heading to the fight, and had the crowd on his side during the tightly fought contest. The next time Barriga and Ayrapetyan meet will be at the London Olympics in July.

Ian Clark Bautista of Negros Occidental won the bronze medal in the 52 kg flyweight category in the same tournament.

ABAP executive director and delegation head Ed Picson was happy with the results.

“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 said their participation here is part of PLDT-ABAP’s continuing program to expose the national boxers to tough international competition.

“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 team is coached by former Olympians Ronald Chavez and Roel Velasco. Also part of the delegation is international referee-judge Victorio Policarpio, who was named Best Referee among 32 ring officials.

Meanwhile, Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines is currently in Qinhuangdao, China to try and qualify for the Olympiad in the 51 kg flyweight category of the AIBA World Women’s Championships which reeled off Friday. She was scheduled to face a Venezuelan boxer Saturday.

Also in the team vying for honors in the non-Olympic categories are Josie Gabuco (48 kg) and Alice Kate Aparri (54 kg), although there’s no Olympic slot at stake in their respective weight classes.

ALICE KATE APARRI BARRIGA BARRIGA AND AYRAPETYAN BEST REFEREE CENTRAL ASIAN DAVID AYRAPETYAN ED PICSON IAN CLARK BAUTISTA OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL JOSIE GABUCO LONDON OLYMPICS
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