A controversial defeat marred our last hope for a 2012 London Olympic medal, when Filipino boxer Mark Anthony Barriga was defeated by Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov during their light flyweight boxing match on Saturday, August 4.
Dubbed as the “Little Pacquiao”, Barriga gave hope to Filipinos when he won against Italy’s Manuel Cappai showcasing his aggressive punches. However, on Saturday, Barriga was defeated by Zhakypov with a final score cards of 17-16 after getting penalized for ducking and headbutting in the third round of the fight. He was ahead on the score cards, 10-8, after the second round, but due to his penalty, two points were deducted from his points in the third and final round, while his opponent was docked a single point.
The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) filed a protest for Barriga’s loss, however, it was not heeded by International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), which signalled the end of Barriga’s Olympic campaign.
The ABAP issued an official statement regarding Barriga’s via its president Ricky Vargas:
It was a painful experience to witness Mark Anthony Barriga, a young and promising boxer who worked so hard and fought with a big heart only to lose due to a controversial call by the referee which gave two bonus points to his much taller opponent.
We felt we owed it to Mark to place the fight under protest, to fight for him as he fought for us. Unfortunately, the Competition Jury did not entertain it, not even reviewing the tape of the fight.
It seems in the battle of “giants” justice is more difficult to attain for a small country like ours.
Despite this painful experience, we will persevere and work even harder to achieve our Olympic quest.
We may have lost a boxing match in London, but definitely NOT our Filipino pride.
This was not the first time that the AIBA has faced a complaint on their 2012 Olympic boxing decisions. India’s Vikas Krishan protested when they reversed his win over Errol Spence of USA in a 69kg bout also on Saturday. Read article here.