Mark Anthony Barriga will resume his 2012 Olympic campaign today as he steps on the ring once again to face Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan in the round-of-16 of the men’s light flyweight boxing competition.
Barriga, who is coming off a convincing 17-7 win over Italian Manuel Cappai in his first fight, express his confidence in his next match, saying that he is in a much-better shape than the day he fought the much-taller Italian last Tuesday.
“I think I am in a much better shape than when I fought Cappai in the first round. I’m in excellent shape,” said Barriga, who also feels comfortable with his weight division. “I’m only 48 kilos so I can still take a full meal without going above the weight limit.”
Unlike Barriga, his Kazakh opponent is reportedly having trouble making the 49-pound weight limit, which, according to coach Roel Velasco, will be a huge advantage for the 19-year-old Davao native.
According to Velasco, Zhakypov looked like a fighter in bad shape after easily getting tired during his 18-17 win over French Jeremy Beccu in the first round.
But despite Zhakypov’s weight problems, Velasco said that they won’t take any chances and get complacent, saying that they will stick to their game plan of hitting the Kazakh on his body, which is his known weakness.
“I will ask him to go for the body, where Europeans are known to be weak,” said Velasco, who won the bronze medal in the same weight division during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
If Barriga successfully hurdles his next big test, he will be tipped against the winner between reigning world champion Zou Shiming of China and Yosbany Veitia Soto of Cuba, who scored an impressive 24-6 against Billy Ward of Australia in the first round.