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Mark Barriga falls short in title quest with split decision loss to Licona

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Mark Barriga
Filipino boxer Mark Barriga fell short in his world championship bid after losing to Mexican Carlos Licona by split decision in their clash for the vacant IBF minimum weight world title on Sunday in Los Angeles. -- ALVIN S. GO

FILIPINO boxer Mark Barriga fell in his quest to become the next world champion from the Philippines after being edged out by Mexican Carlos Licona by split decision in their International Boxing Federation minimum weight world title clash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday (Manila time).

Mr. Barriga, a former Olympian, fought tooth and nail against Mr. Licona for the whole 12 rounds but just could not swing the judges’ numbers in his favor.

When the battle smoke cleared, Mr. Licona had two judges going for him, 115-113 and 115-113, while one went for Barriga, 115-113.

Represented the Philippines in the 2012 London Olympics, Mr. Barriga (9-1) was undefeated in his nine previous fights heading into yesterday’s title bout and was hoping to become the first Filipino Olympian to win a world title.

A professional for just two years, 25-year-old Barriga, a Davao native, has steadily climbed the ranks to position himself in the mix in his division, earning a shot at the previously vacant IBF minimumweight title.

With the win, Mr. Licona (14-0), meanwhile, continued to remain undefeated.

Meanwhile, in the main event of yesterday’s boxing offering, heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) retained his World Boxing Council title with a split draw with Tyson Fury (27-0-1).

One judge scored it 115-111 for Wilder and another 114-110 for Fury with the last judge having it 113-113 for the split draw.

It was an action-filled contest right from the beginning with both fighters going all out.

Along the way Mr. Fury took the canvas twice but made up for it by staying aggressive.

Following the split draw, both fighters said they were looking at doing it again in a possible rematch. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo