Saturday, January 28, 2023  |


Mark Anthony Barriga shuts out Gabriel Mendoza to become IBF strawweight mandatory

Mark Anthony Barriga. Photo by Ryan Songalia

Not even his most experienced foe to date could make Mark Anthony Barriga break from his game plan. The 2012 Olympian from Panabo City, Philippines took Gabriel Mendoza to school over twelve rounds, winning a one-sided unanimous decision Sunday at SM City North EDSA Skydome in Quezon City, Philippines.

Mendoza appeared on paper to be the toughest test of Barriga’s young pro career, having gone rounds with championship level fighters Alberto Rossel, Carlos Buitrago and Jose Argumedo, and having scored 23 knockouts in 29 wins. None of that seemed to matter once he entered into Barriga’s “Matrix” of shoulder rolls, head movement and footwork.

Two judges scored the IBF strawweight title eliminator a 120-108 shutout, while one judge found just a single round to give to the Colombian visitor Mendoza at 119-109, making Barriga the new number one contender for the 105-pound belt currently held by Japan’s Hiroto Kyoguchi.

From round one, the fight followed a familiar patter with Barriga’s fight, where there doesn’t seem to be enough time in any round for the opponent to get his work done. Barriga (9-0, 1 knockout) circled to each side, measuring Mendoza (29-6-2, 23 KOs) with lead left hands and countering with check right hooks to keep his Mexican foe off balance whenever he stepped in with his own shots.

Barriga took few chances as he banked rounds away, using his sizable advantage in speed and skill to discourage Mendoza.

Mendoza attempted a new tactic of doubling his right hand leads against Barriga’s shoulder roll defense in the eighth, but the left hand counters from Barriga convinced him that a new strategy would be needed.

Barriga is handled by Joven Jimenez, international matchmaker Sean Gibbons and MP Promotions, plus IBF junior bantamweight titleholder Jerwin Ancajas, whom he had grown up with on the Davao provincial boxing team as an amateur.

Kyoguchi (9-0, 7 KOs) first must handle business of his own as he’s set to make the second defense of his title against unbeaten Filipino Vince Paras (13-0, 11 KOs) on May 20 in Tokyo, Japan.

Servania scores KO, overweight Sonsona returns

Featherweight contender Genesis Servania (31-1, 14 KOs) scored his second straight victory on the undercard, knocking down Indonesia’s Jason Butar Butar (27-24-1, 18 KOs) twice in the fifth round to score the stoppage at the 2:04 mark.

Referee Virgilio Garcia reached the count of ten after a Servania left hook to the ribcage left Butar Butar writhing in pain on the canvas.

Servania, a Bacolod City, Philippines native now based in Kanazawa, Japan, earned a promotional deal from Top Rank after his valiant effort in defeat against Oscar Valdez, knocking the WBO featherweight titleholder down before losing on points.

Former WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Marvin Sonsona ended a nearly three-year ring absence with a 60-54 sweep of Indonesia’s Arief Blader. Sonsona, who last fought in June of 2015 at 127 pounds, weighed 20 pounds heavier at 147, blowing the 141-pound catchweight by six pounds, and weighing eight pounds heavier than his foe at 139.

Sonsona (21-1, 15 KOs) had reportedly dropped from 186 pounds six weeks earlier and looked rusty from the start, boxing and landing from range, but also absorbing right hand counters from Blader.

Sonsona, now 27, had won his title at age 19 with a hard-fought decision over Jose “Carita” Lopez, but lost it two months later when he missed weight by two and a half pounds in a draw against Alejandro Hernandez.

The card was titled “Survival Instinct”, and no one embodied the show’s title more than AJ Banal’s Indonesian foe Master Suro. Suro, a frequent visitor to the Philippines, clinched and moved for ten rounds, losing a unanimous decision to the two-time title challenger Banal, a former star from the ALA Boxing stable who is also trying to reinvigorate his career following inactivity.

Scores were 100-90 across the board.

The card was stretched out over the course of ten hours, with bouts being fit in to the television schedule on ESPN 5 in the Philippines.