MARK Anthony Barriga left for the U.S. on Thursday night - 10 days before he shoots for a first-ever world championship.
Barriga was in the company of trainer Joven Jimenez and Survival Camp stablemate and current World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas for the 13-hour flight to Los Angeles.
Also with the group was Olympian Charly Suarez, a former national teammate of Barriga.
The 25-year-old Barriga is set to meet Carlos Licona for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) mini-flyweight title at the Staples Center on Dec. 1 in the undercard of the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury match for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight belt.
"Kaya ito na yung magandang pagkakataon para kay Mark," said Jimenez just before the compact group left for L.A.
Barriga represented the country as the lone boxing bet in the 2012 London Olympics where he reached the round of 16.
Shortly after winning a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, the native of Danao, Cebu turned pro and has since compiled an unbeaten record of 9-0 (1 KO) heading to his fight against Licona (13-0, 2 KOs).
"Magandang laban ito, match na match silang dalawa," said Jimenez. "Maganda ang naging preparasyon namin sa laban. Nasa peak na si Mark."
Ancajas will be at the corner of Jimenez and will try to assist him during the fight as his way of supporting his friend and stablemate.
"Aakyat din sa ring si Jerwin," said Jimenez.
Barriga hopes to join Ancajas, Nonito Donaire Jr., Vic Saludar, and the great Manny Pacquiao among the country's current crop of world champions.