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    Barriga cuts tall Italian down to size in Games debut 

    Jul 31, 2012
    Mark Anthony Barriga showed maturity well beyond his years during his opening win. Jerome Ascano

    LONDON -- Mark Anthony Barriga gave the Philippine campaign in the 30th London Olympics something to cheer about after scoring a resounding 17-7 win over Manuel Capai of Italy in his opening-round match in the 49kg class of the boxing competition.

    The 19-year-old native of Panabo, Davao repeatedly hammered his taller Italian opponent with solid straight lefts and came up with a standing eight count late in the first round to set the tone of the lopsided bout.

    Barriga won the opening round, 5-2, steadied in the second to hike his lead to 9-4 entering the third and final round.

    When it was over, Barriga proudly showed off his shirt with the logo of the Philippine flag, getting wild cheers and applause from the small but loud Filipino crowd in the gallery.

    He then proceeded to give his coach, 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist Roel Velasco a hug, before stepping down into the ring.

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    The win put the lone Filipino boxing entry in a round-of-16 match against another tall fighter in Kazakhstan's Birzhan Zhakypov, who nipped France's Jeremy Beccu, 18-17, in their opening bout.

    The fight is set for Saturday.

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    Mark Anthony Barriga showed maturity well beyond his years during his opening win. Jerome Ascano
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