EVEN a warrior of Mark Barriga’s stuff is sometimes carried away by emotions, too.
The Filipino Olympian choked when reminded of his victory over Colombian’s Gabriel Mendoza that earned him a mandatory challenge for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight title came right on Mother’s Day.
It turned out Barriga offered the fight in honor of his mother, Melita, who currently is dealing with health issue with her heart and liver.
“Alam mo naman sinabi ko sa iyo bago nag-start yung laban na para sa iyo ito, kasi para sa pang gamot mo,” said Barriga, who tried to hold back tears while being interviewed in the middle of the ring following his unanimous decision win over Mendoza at the North Edsa Skydome on Sunday night.
“Siyempre iba yung sakit sa puso,” added the 24-year-old fighter, while greeting the elder Barriga a happy Mother’s Day.
He later disclosed that his mother is one of the reasons why he continues to fight in the ring in order to help defray her medical costs.
“Pero okay naman, kaya naman,” said the former amateur standout who represented the country in the 2012 London Games. “Kahit na ako ang maghirap sa ring gagawin ko ang lahat para lang mapabuti ang magulang ko.”
The win over Mendoza (via scores of 120-108, 120-108, and 119-109) could just open the door for bigger prize purses for Barriga, who automatically earned the No. 1 ranking of the IBF and a crack at challenging for the crown sometime in July.
Japanese Hiroto Kyoguchi is the current IBF 105-pound. champion, but will defend his belt against Filipino Vince Paras in Japan later this month, the winner of which is set to face Barriga next.
Barriga said he’s ready to face whoever between the two emerges victorious.
“Always ready kami Survival Camp nga eh, pag hindi ka mag survive hindi ka taga Survival Camp,” he said of the boxing stable where he belongs along with reigning IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and owned by trainer-manager Joven Jimenez.