Barriga, the lone Filipino boxing entry in this year’s Olympics, dominated first-round Italian foe Manuel Cappai, 17-7, to advance to the round-of-16 of the light flyweight division of the 2012 London Games.
Right from the opening bell, Barriga showed why he is dubbed as “Little Pacquiao”, displaying his speed and tremendous timing to frustrate his Italian counterpart.
The 19-year-old Davao native connected early that seemed to take Cappai’s focus out and Barriga wasted no chance as he capitalized, scoring a knockdown and also unleashed a solid left hook that forced the referee to hand Cappai a standing eight count.
Leading 5-2 after the first round, Barriga came out firing in the second round and also displayed quickness, evading the desperation punches of the Italian to end the round with a 9-4 advantage.
Barriga, the smallest fighter in the division, could have opted to run away in the final round to secure the win, but he showed that he is not afraid of his opponents as he decided to pound Cappai more than he did in the first two rounds, leading to a convincing 10-point win.
Up next for Barriga in the round-of-16 is reigning Asian Games silver medalist Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan, who defeated Jeremy Beccu, 18-17, in their own first-round match.
If Barriga will successfully hurdle Zhakypov’s challenge, he will either face Yosbany Veitia Soto of Cuba or China Zou Shiming, who defeated him in the quarterfinals of the World Championship last year.