Unleashing punches that reminded spectators of the young Manuel “Onyok” Velasco at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, lone Filipino boxer Mark Anthony Barriga outscored Italian Manuel Cappai, 17-7, in his opening bout in the light flyweight (49kg) division last night in the 2012 London Games.
The 19-year-old Davaoeño stamped his class over his taller Italian foe as he dominated the three-round fight with an astounding 5-2 card in round one, 4-2, in second, and 8-3 in the final round.
Cappai tried to box defensively in the second round but Barriga managed to get in some of his overhead punches to register more points in the judges' score cards.
With the win, the Filipino fighter advances to the round of 16 where he will be facing veteran boxer Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan on Saturday, August 5 at 8:45 p.m. (Phil. time). The match will be broadcast live on AKTV local channel.
Reports from the wires showed Zhakypov as the reigning Asian Games silver medalist in his division, losing to Olympic defending champion Zou Shiming in the finals.
The Kazakh pug advanced to the next round in London after surviving an 18-17 decision against France 's France 's Jeremy Beccu.
Barriga's win last night rekindled the hope of the Philippine nation for an Olympic gold, despite the lean 11-man delegation to the Summer Games.
Earlier, flag-bearer Hidilyn Diaz failed to advance to the next round as she ended her campaign in the women's 58kg weighlifting contest.
Diaz had a good start in her event as she posted 97-kg in the snatch, lifting 92-kg in her first attempt, muffed 97-kg in her second, then lifted the same weight in her final attempt.
Her campaign in London , however, came to an abrupt end as failed to lift the 118-kg weights in clean-and-jerk.
Diaz was more impressive in last May POC-PSC National Games in Dumaguete were she posted a record of 96-kg in the snatch and 123-kg in the clean-and-jerk for a total of 219-kg.
Four years ago in Beijing , she finished 11 th in a field of 12 in her event.*NAB
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