'Little Pacquiao' Barriga blows out Italian foe

Posted at 08/01/12 12:46 AM

Philippines' Mark Barriga (right, in red) fights Italy's Manuel Cappai in the men's light flyweight (49kg) round-of-32 boxing match during the London 2012 Olympic Games on Tuesday. Barriga defeated Cappai, 17-7, to advance to the next round. Photo by Murad Sezer, Reuters
Barriga advances to Round of 16

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Filipino boxer Mark Anthony Barriga made it to the next round of the Olympic's amateur boxing tournament in London by beating his Italian foe in the round of 32 Tuesday night (Manila time).

Barriga outpointed Manuel Cappai, 17-7, in the 49 kilogram division (light flyweight) to enter the Round of 16.

The 19-year-old Pinoy frustrated the taller Italian with his superior timing, excellent handspeed and footwork.

In the first round, Barriga immediately charged in with a left hand lead that caught Cappai's chin.

The move apparently irked and ruined Cappai’s game. The Italian tried switch hitting but most of his punches either swished through the air or were flicked away by Barriga.

The Filipino dropped the Italian with a huge right hook 49 seconds remaining in Round 1, but the referee ruled it as a slip.

Barriga later dazed Cappai with a left hook off the clinch, prompting the referee to give the Italian a standing 8-count.

Judges scored the first round, 5-2, for Barriga.

In the second round, Cappai tried to rebound by forcing Barriga to the ropes.

The Filipino, however, wisely moved away from the Italian and avoided being cornered.

The Italian bullied his way in with excessive holding and rabbit punches, but the Filipino got the better of the exchange and upped the lead to 9-4.

Desperate, Cappai tried to engage Barriga into a brawl in the third round.

The Filipino kept his defenses up, then rattled the Italian with a series of right hands.

Toward the end of Round 3, Barriga connected with a couple of lead lefts before the bout turned into an all-out brawl.

The Filipino gained the upper hand in the third and final round, 8-3.

Barriga, the shortest fighter in the light flyweight division, came in as the underdog against the taller Cappai.

With the win, Barriga advanced to the Round of 16 of the Olympics tournament.

Barriga’s victory came in as a welcome development for the Philippine Olympic team, which suffered losses in weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna.

The Filipino boxer will face Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov on Saturday in the Round of 16.

Zhakypov defeated Jeremy Beccu of France 18-17. 

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